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Author Topic: Indie Pub 2010 Developer Contest Feedback  (Read 4574 times)
Ross Przybylski

Posts: 1051

D20Studios, LLC

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« on: October 20, 2010, 04:17:41 PM MT »

Greetings Hero Mages fans!

Indie Pub is a community of independent game developers and players dedicated to promoting and exploring indie games by providing developers with ways to connect, learn, and grow.  This year they hosted their 3rd annual Independent  Developer Competion, awarding the community favorite with a prize of $5,000, finalists with a prize of $1000, and the grand-prize winner, Dust Force, $100,000.

Hero Mages made Semi-Finalist in the category of Best Game Design- a proud milestone for our community!  Below, I have included Hero Mages comments from Terence, indiePub's Patriarch (what an awesome title btw) to once again encourage player feedback and discussion.

Quote from: Terence (IndiePub)
First Iíd like to say that I love the game.  I played MTG extensively, and some table top games (Battletech), so the mechanics of Hero Mages are pretty familiar to me.

What I particularly enjoy is the depth of the game.  The strategy gets surprisingly deep, and the cards are varied enough to make a lot of strategies viable.  Iíve seen players attack their own units to unstun them; Iíve seen crazy hit-and-run tactics with the teleportation cards.  Itís definitely something a MTG player can appreciate!

This kind of game has a pretty steep learning curve.  I think a tutorial mode would be a great help to new players.  I noticed your addition of computer opponents; this could make a tutorial pretty viable.  Since itís a turn based game, making a tutorial would be pretty straightforward: you could suggest an action for the player at every step.  The mana and valor system is a little confusing at first; it would be nice to explain it clearly in this tutorial.

Another issue is that itís hard to tell what exactly is happening when a player or computer decides to do a bunch of actions quickly after another.  I know there is a log and a message at the top of the screen, but those are hard to see, and the top message changes as fast as the opponent does actions.  Perhaps you could add an effect box, either on top of the character avatar on the right, or maybe just in the middle of the screen.  So if someone casts a spell that raises the defense of all his teammates, it could have a message in the middle saying something like, ďGuest_1ís Sorceress casts ASDF!  Guest_2ís Rogue and Psionist gain +2 defense,Ē and then a little ď+2Ē number pops up with the defense icon next to all the affected characters.  That way I donít have to look through the log and click on the spell just to see what happened.

A learning issue is that itís not immediately clear that the Hero Mage is the most important character.  It looks like it is just one of the other 3.  It was not obvious to me that if I let it die, I would not be able to cast any spells.  Maybe the Hero Mage should have a different colored or bordered avatar box?

The art in the game is awesome, but sometimes itís hard to see things.  I think you need more contrast.  The characters, and even the walls, blend in too much with the ground; there isnít a huge range in values.  Perhaps if you had drop shadows underneath the characters, it would help them stand out more.

Being able to view the line of sight is so important that I think it should just automatically calculate it whenever you choose to move a character. I shouldnít have to press E to check every possible tile; I should just pres the move key, and every time I mouseover an available movement location, I should see the line of sight.

I should be able to undo movements if I do so immediately.

The timer should flash or beep when it gets near the end of the turn.  Iíve lost my turn accidentally a few times when I wasnít paying attention to the timer.

I think there is room for some more environmental variation.  Maybe Ďfencesí that would block movement, but could allow ranged attacks?  Or rough terrain that would cost more movement points.  Or an elevated station that would give line of sight over some walls.

The sound effects are great; they give feedback when appropriate.  I like the music too.
Overall, the game is extremely fun because it is genuinely strategic and is well paced.   Iíd love to see where you take this.  Maybe we can work with you to help drive some traffic to your game.  We have some plans to increase traffic to indiePub, and hopefully that can benefit you.


Manager of D20Studios, LLC
the stoat

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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2010, 07:01:09 PM MT »

tutorial, tutorial, tutorial. make it a priority! We who love the game will wait for improvements, newbies wont, so give them baby steps.

Also, Terence, HM should have won! Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 12:47:14 AM MT »

A lot of his suggestions are good.  But at the same time, some sound like he's a poor sport who doesn't like losing.

For example, the timer. It blinking for 5 seconds isn't really going to make you do your turn faster (it actually probably distracts you for one second).  Undoing movements, robs the whole idea behind the timer-- which is that the timer is meant to pressure you into a mistake that your opponent might take advantage of if you're not fast enough, or charge in without thinking it all out first.

Others are pretty good though.  Such as, the suggestion to add a +2 (then maybe a sword icon) when someone casts Archeon's Might or Bloodlust, etc..  Because until you have the cards memorized (which only takes like 50-100 games), you do have to quickly click on the spell at the top and read just to know what the hell happened.

I'm not sure about the line of sight part.. I like how it is, cause it forces me to check all my possible line of sights before my turn and if I don't I get penalized in terms of time.  Makes it more challenging-- and creates a way for individuals to be even better if they utilize it correctly.

I have no problem with the art/contrast.

I believe, which is your hero mage is not a problem.  I think after one game, you should be able to figure out that you can't cast  spells with out your hero mage. 

However, his idea of a tutorial that utilizes the computer opponents, is great.
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