I've been making a list of ideas for the game.
I've divided them up into Bugs, Feature Requests and AdditionsBugs
First, the occasional hanging at the bubble screen. The browser status says 'Connecting to fantasticcontraption.com.. ' But you are able to connect to other sites and even the game in a different tab/window. I know this is a known issue, but while the underlying problem is resolved perhaps a time out screen or something would be good.
If you try to save a solution with a '<' in one of the fields and it wont. Perhaps this is blocked so it doesn't mess up coding, but it took me good deal of trial and error to figure out why I couldn't save a solution I had worked on for quite some time. Maybe just restrict that character (and any other that are not allowed) from even being entered in those fields.
And finally, a while ago I found a way to place and position pieces outside the build area. I've narrowed it down to a particular method that lets it happen regularly. It works on all levels I've tried and on all types of objects.http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=20572http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=23172http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=23339Feature requests
When I'm browsing this forum and loading others deigns I am usually listening to my own music. It can be tedious to be clicking mute each time the game loads. I wonder if it would be possible to tie the mute status to the persons login or perhaps added to the method that saves the login information (cookie?).
If you decide an idea is not working and want to start over, you must click return to main menu and then reselect the level. It would be nice to have a clear or reset button. Even better, an undo button could be used, plus allow you to take steps back. Many times I tweak something only to make a problem worse, and then spend a long time try to just tweak it back to where it was. I got around this by saving often, but thats not ideal and if many people are doing it, it would surely add to the server/bandwidth load.
With many designs, what happens just after the victory can be just as entertaining. Sometimes its the best part. When the victory cloud cover pops up it obscures this and you have to quickly click back to see the ending. This could be improved by making the victory cloud and its options smaller, off to an edge, or even just transparent.
The same could be done with the opps... cloud when you try and view a level or solution not included in the free version. Making this transparent would give a taste of what they are missing.
It would also be nice when viewing someone elses solution, for the name of the creator to be on screen, perhaps next to the title they gave the level. You could even add the description they provided as a tool tip when hovering over the title. AdditionsGame Modes
Replayability is already strong in this game with the possible solutions nearly endless. This has even been extended further with the Gravity/Green Solutions and Simplest Solutions. A few additions could be made to extend and reward this type of play.
Adding a timer to the game could bring in a new form of play in speed and duration of a solution. What solution can solve a level the fastest. And adversly designing for a slow completion could be interesting. This could get really boring however, so maybe a end timer mark of a few minutes, with the goal being closest to, without going over. I think this might be tricky technically since the game play speed changes from computer to computer.
A running tally on the number of parts being used would aid in the Simplest Solutions kind of play. It would also open up complex solution to being measured without tedious manual counting of parts. You could give an on screen rating on simplicity vs complexity. This could be level by level or a general average. For example ratings could fall into groups of 0-3, 4-9, 10-19, 20-34, and 35+ pieces.
Having an in game recognition that no powered wheels were used would encourage Gravity/Green playing. You could even let level designers disable powered wheels for completely green levels. Achievements
With all of these game play modes you could add achievements like many games are adopting. Next to the levels list, in addition to the check mark showing you have beat the level, you could also have little icons for each achievement. A falling apple for gravity solution, a running stick figure for a speedy solution, etc.. Level difficulty ranking
Level order could be automatically sorted based on ranking of difficulty. I think if you have the game report a running tally on attempts vs success it would give you a good idea on how hard people find it. This needn't be a public ranking, it could be just behind the scenes or for your own knowledge so you know how to rank levels.Level sets
instead of just the two pages of levels, I like the idea of several groups of levels
They could be:
Then for each group have 12 levels but only the first 6 are available in the free version. The final 6 are grayed out, but readable.
This serves several purposes. It extends the number of official levels but keeps them manageable. It better ranks the levels so players can see how they are progressing. By having the grayed out levels on screen, it shows players what they are missing. Also the grayed out levels in tutorials could be an 'Advanced techniques' set of levels that cover the the bases on design styles or tactics. Other Players Designs
The other players designs could be improved in a few ways.
Currently some levels now have upwards of 160 designs to browse and will keep growing. The more it grows the less useful it becomes. Adding a way to sort these by ranking or other stats would be great. Additionally, it would be really nice to have a small screenshot of the solution next to the name. The screenshot would just need to be of the build area on the level since thats the only part that changes, and it could be very low resolution to keep it minimal on server load. With the screen shots, say if you are looking through 'Four Balls', you could quickly identify catapults from conveyor belts.
So thats my list so far. I don't know the limitations on how possible these are, but I'd like hearing what people think of them or if they have something to add to them.
Obviously I like this game a ton. Its seriously on my top list for the year, and for the time has surpassed Team Fortress 2 and Track Mania in my obsessive playing. Thanks for the great fun