1. donderper

    donderper Well-Known Member

    @Elyot

    Were the decisions to use low numbers, perfect information and no explicit randomness during the game, made at outset of creating prismata or as a result of trial and error, seeing what worked and what didn't in a high level strategy game?
     
  2. Elyot

    Elyot Well-Known Member

    Low numbers is mostly just for elegance/simplicity and ease of play. We want all numbers to be as low as possible such that the game remains sufficiently balanced and interesting. In a lot of games, big units attack for 5-10 damage (or worse, see solforge!) and our combat system really makes that unnecessary because all damage just gets added together, so big units can attack for 2-3 in our game. Costs, on the other hand, are a bit higher than in most TCGs, but that arose out of necessity. The drone (basic economic unit that makes 1 gold per turn) needed to cost 3 otherwise the doubling time of your economy would be too short, and pretty much all the other costs arise from that. Most of the exact specifications (costs, attack, health, etc.) came about during the course of developing the various mechanics, combat system, etc. but we probably restarted from scratch 10 or more times. For example, there were versions where drones had 2hp and attack values were a bit higher, but it didn't feel as a good so we kept 1hp drones.

    No randomness and perfect information was there from day one; we wanted it to be a game that rewarded skill and had a lot of "clarity", meaning that you could make plans and see them come to fruition, without needing a lot of explicit calculation for many moves in the future like chess.
     
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  3. donderper

    donderper Well-Known Member

    If it's simple enough to play intuitively without requiring a whole load of calculations that's great. They seem like such obvious design principles that it's weird there aren't more games out there using them. Thanks for the response.
     
  4. Elyot

    Elyot Well-Known Member

    Keith gave me permission to spam links, so if you guys want to know more stuff about Prismata, here you go:

    prismata.net (the main website where you can sign up for the beta)
    facebook page (we tend to post random art/updates and other stuff here)
    twitter (we post stuff every day on there)
    youtube (gameplay videos, trailers)

    And of course, our blog! New posts every Tuesday.
     
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  5. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Your game is still under construction, but you took the time to add an irrelevant bust of Anya to your UI, apparently in an attempt at eye candy.

    I feel really cynical all of a sudden.

    EDIT: Unless it's edited into the video instead. In which case it's somewhat cheaper... but still.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
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  6. donderper

    donderper Well-Known Member

    I didn't want to say anything but yeh, is it really necessary to have an arbitrary busty woman floating around all your videos.
     
  7. Elyot

    Elyot Well-Known Member

    Hahah yeah it's just edited into the video. Actually, I have no particular attachment to keeping her there, maybe we can put something else in that corner instead. We do have a lot more art now, we'll think about doing something else.

    That particular character was drawn by a guy named artgerm who is pretty famous for drawing girls in a certain way. Believe it or not, we asked him to make her boobs small. I think he just isn't capable of doing it. ;)

    We're always torn by whether to include a lot of flashy art, because it makes us look "professional" to some people but "distasteful" to others.
     
  8. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Well, I'd say good, tasteful art is probably only a plus (assuming it doesn't get in the way, or anything). I think the "here's a sexy girl picture!" is what's distasteful, not the fact that there's well-drawn art. There probably is some tiny contingent of people who ARE turned off by any art being in games, but I think this section of people is unreasonable AND small enough to ignore. Most people will like having some nice art in a game.

    As to "including a lot of art" - don't just put art in, just to put art in. Art in games shouldn't be gratuitous. It should be for a purpose, like showing the "character" you're playing or something. If I was playing Tetris and there was just a drawing of a cow fighting a rock golem, it doesn't even really matter that it's the greatest picture ever, it just feels out of place.

    I would instead say, make your HUD elements, background texture, little feedback effects etc look really nice. Spend extra money on that necessary stuff instead.
     
  9. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    Sounds pretty much like what many of these "match-three RPGs" are doing! :D

    Agreed. This is more a matter of "game feel" than of pure visual aesthetic.
     
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  10. Elyot

    Elyot Well-Known Member

    In terms of the game HUD there are no characters there. The streamed video is a bit different; most streams/youtubes DO have random art adorning the frames so that's pretty standard.

    I think the "sexy girl picture" is probably +RoI, I mean Hearthstone uses Jaina as the character for their tutorial, probably they focus tested it and found she maximized retention. And they chose an avatar for her with her boobs exploding out of her suit of armour, visible front and centre for literally the entire 20-minute unskippable tutorial. I'd be very surprised if this was in any way suboptimal. But in any case, we'll do our own testing and see.
     
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  11. Bob Shelline

    Bob Shelline Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of things you can do to increase retention, and many of them are deplorable. It's not a great metric by itself.
     
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  12. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    Not to mention that retention isn't the only metric that matters. How many people will an intelligence-insulting gratuitous buxom female turn away from your game? To me, that's a marketing trick inextricably associated with garbage browser games--you know, the ones you installed AdBlockerPlus so you'd never have to see again.
     
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  13. Elyot

    Elyot Well-Known Member

    I understand your reservations, but I feel like you folks are overreacting a bit, no? Especially to refer to the character as intelligence-insulting and gratuitous.

    Anya literally has no skin showing except for her face and hands. Every single other successful game in our market (Hearthstone, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, DOTA2) prominently features female characters that are dressed WAY sluttier than her. And unlike small-budget indie idealists who live in a dreamworld where the attractiveness of their characters doesn't influence their user acquisition and retention, companies like Blizzard, Valve, and Riot actually conduct market research. Obviously we want our female characters to be attractive, but I don't see anything gratuitous about it; would you guys prefer if we just didn't have any females at all? Some of us actually want people to play our games.

    I think that saying that attractive female characters is a "marketing trick inextricably associated with garbage browser games" is yet another symptom of "indie idealism". You want it to be true, but it's not true at all.

    Signalling is super important, but generally it works in reverse. To most people, consistent high quality, attractive, and expensive-looking art signals a quality product. It increases people's confidence that the product is bug-free, fun to play, and that they won't have to wait 40 minutes for an opponent to find a game.

    Here's what all of our fans tell us whenever this issue comes up: they give us a resounding YES. Why? Because they want us to make a game that people will play. They want a healthy fan base and dream of the long-term success of the product. And they know that attractive art encourages that.
     
  14. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    @Elyot: Let me chime in and say that your position is totally understandable. I think as long as the art doesn't take away from the gameplay's clarity, and if it helps to build a healthy (as in "large enough") player base, then it's totally acceptable to maybe sacrifice a bit of "tastefulness". After all, the gameplay is what matters. And I mean, it's not like you're anywhere near this. :D

    Although, I think we're in the process of at least a bit of change these days, where more and more people are slowly starting to "get" that gameplay is what makes a game, and even "close to no art" games (a.k.a. abstracts) can be successful.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  15. donderper

    donderper Well-Known Member

    If you are making something truly new and compelling why limit yourself by pandering to existing styles and risk coming off as a cheaper imitation of larger, more successful games, with bigger budgets for "market research" and art.

    Edit: @nacht ninja edited in some stuff to his comment while I was typing which says much the same thing as I was trying to, only in a nicer way than I managed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  16. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm mostly fine with the art. I think honestly the negative reaction is mostly coming from the fact that the disembodied boobs are just sort of floating above your head in a super cheesy way.

    Anyway I signed up. Interested in trying it and would be super excited if the business model of "everything is free except skins" worked out.
     
  17. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    As the guy who wrote the words you're specifically objecting to, I should say that I am referring to prismata.net, not anything in the video. I'm very interested in the game for the reasons other folks here have mentioned, but when I landed on prismata.net, there's this lady. Nothing about the game, no art from the game, no text about the game. Wha? When I looked at the gameplay in the video (only for a couple of seconds--I don't know anything about the rules yet so I have no interest in watching more) that image had no relationship to anything I saw in the gameplay itself. The girl with her inviting smile and swelling chest seems to be there solely to titillate and to suggest that I might find more inside. That does seem gratuitious, and an insult to intelligence, whether you intend it to be or not. And it is not significantly different from totally gratuitous buxom lady clickbait in that class of browser ads I mentioned.

    My encounter with your marketing is just one guy's encounter. Someone who finds you via some channel other than prismata.net might come away with a different impression. I'm not an indie-game idealist, but I just find that marketing to be a major turnoff. I'm also apparently not in your target market at all--I've never played any of the games you mention, aside from Hearthstone. So, feel free to disregard my reaction. But I doubt that I'm alone in wanting to be sold a game (and specifically gameplay), rather than a pretty generic sci-fi babe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  18. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    I might as well go on record saying that I thought it was funny that there is a pretty woman just kinda standing there throughout the videos, but I don't think it's an insult to my intelligence, and I don't really care about it, with the exception that if it were in the game itself and I couldn't remove it, I might worry a little that if my wife walks in behind me while I'm not looking she will think I'm playing a certain kind of game. But this worry is like a 2/10, not a big deal.

    She sees me playing Outwitters and makes fun of me because of the cuteness of the Adorables graphics.
     
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  19. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    This game by Alex and Elyot et al. deserves its own thread instead of being mixed with the general PC games thread.

     
  20. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    I (and presumably Senator) have been conditioned by now to expect games to suck if they need sex appeal to attract clicks. Doubly so if the publicly available information on the gameplay doesn't have any obvious place where the character fits into it.
     
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