Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Come talk about the game, your Contraptions, and your solutions!

Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Silver on Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:06 pm

I've been making a list of ideas for the game.

I've divided them up into Bugs, Feature Requests and Additions

Bugs

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=20572
http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=23172
http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=23339



Feature 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.



Additions

Game 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:

Tutorial
Easy
Medium
Hard
Insane

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

-=Silver
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby elborbah on Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:14 pm

Silver wrote: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.


that would be great. at least the timer shoulnt be hard to do. and with a timer highscore lists could be possible.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Speedemon on Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:21 pm

I LOVE those ideas! I don't know if they're possible to do but yeah. I also love the idea of making moving part disabled if you want to on your level. Great Ideas! I was already thinking about some type of achievement system for like when you complete a level with a green solution or if its overly complex or if its simple or speedy, or maybe one for if you spend an hour on it, or if you solve it in less then a minute.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby pacifist on Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:25 pm

Good post Silver. Alot of these things are on my list already. A few of them have just been added, and a few are things I'd love to put on the list but can' figure out how to do.

'mise well go piece by piece. These are all good thoughts and it will be good to get you guys out of the dark on future plans.

Bugs

Infinite Bubbles drives me nuts. Yesterday I did some major database optomising. Things are now _much_ faster. This should mitigate infinite bubbles. It has also lowered the priority of infinite bubbles fixes on my todo list.

I had no idea about the '<' problem I'll fix that when I get the chance.

Do you still have a way to move pieces outside of the blue area? Xalxuffasch found a way and PM'd me about it. I fixed the bug he sent me about a week ago.

Feature requests

Music: yes definitely. I can throw that in a cookie (added to list)

Reset button: I get alot of requests for a reset button. I personally like the tortured pain of deleting all the pieces when something isn't working. But there have been enough requests that I'll try to find room for it.

I agree with you on the menu pop-up obscuring interesting happenings. I like the transparent idea. I hadn't considered it and it would be easy to do. I'll see how it looks. Any other suggestions to solve this problem are welcome. Remember it can't confuse new users.

Name of creator is another great idea. It's added to the list.

Additions

I always wanted to have a weight measurement. It's pretty easy to measure the weight of all the building blocks on the screen and use that as a score. This would be simmilar to least-pieces but would torture you all more as you knocked off millimeters of rod for a new best solution.

There are a couple of game types I'm interested in. Green is good, I like the idea of 'no littering' levels where you have to get all your building blocks to the goal, not just the pink ball.

Acheivements would obviously be great and go hand-in-hand with other game types. I was toying with the idea of broadly classifying levels by difficulty as well. This may happen.

Sorting designs by rating is a must, the game should have shipped with this feature but I just haven't gotten around to implementing it (the star bar doesn't even give any feedback yet for pete's sake).

And the screenshots. Good god I know, the screenshot would be great. I would love to figure out how to do that. If any flash gurus out there have ideas on how to implement this let me know.


So it's good to see that you have very simmilar things on your want-to-fix, want-to-have list as I do. I'm not out in left field. Unfortunately the day-job keeps me pretty busy. What free time I do have I've been spending trying to keep the server up. But development _is_ happening. Today we got out a new version with a 'simple graphics' option and a bunch of tweaks to the menus (thank's Sarah). You might have to clear your cache to see the new version (ctrl-f5 on the game screen). Hopefully I'll get to this stuff in the not-so-distant future.

Also, i was hoping to get a bunch of new levels launched into the non-pay version this weekend but it looks like that isn't going to happen. You'll have to wait till next week sometime.

Also thanks for the crazy-kind words. You guys have made working on this a ton of fun.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby contraptomaster on Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:45 pm

this isnt funorb (which is jagex's not-so-new gaming website, by the way which all games have achivements), but i agree on that idea. it would be good for the game to evolve and how about having a fullscreen option? it may take long, but the game has to change sometime. and improved grahpics. Yeah 8-) .
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Silver on Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:22 am

Thanks for all the replies and comments. :)

Pacifist, thanks for the feedback and information about whats to come.
I know a bit about development, software beta/stress testing (game and otherwise), UI, etc, so I understand well how you can have list and lists of things to add change or improve. Its kind of a habit for me to evaluate and analyze, so I figure I might as well share it. I hope you understand that I'm not picking apart your creation. Its an incredible undertaking and you've done an impressive job. I'm glad to know you liked some of the ideas or already had plans for them. I understand things can take time, just aren't feasible or end up staying on the 'someday" list.

So in response to your reply along with a few other ideas...

Yes, I can still move pieces outside the blue area. Two methods that work depending on the level. I'll PM you about it.

Another idea for the Victory cloud obscuring what going on... You could also do a slide out menu cloud much like the top has for its buttons. The best place I see this is from the right side since Save and menu are already on the top right, so this could remove some of the redundancy on screen real estate.

I love the idea of weight measurement. It makes sense that a tiny nub of a rod and one that stretches across the screen should not be counted the same.

I had an idea similar to the 'no littering' type of play. I thought of it as leave nothing behind. All ramps, chains and other parts should be removed, (falling off screen) or leaving only the pink ball. But maybe this would just make an interesting challenge for a forum thread.

I'm still on the free version, so I have not tried the level editor, but I think it would be cool to have multiple build areas goal areas and objective pieces. It could be really interesting to build two vehicles that have to meet and work together to solve a challenge. Or a level like Handling that requires precision placement but with two different sized goals and corresponding pink shapes.


The new update looks good and seems to run smooth. I haven't had any delay at a bubble screen yet.



Image
aww.. I made this avatar but they aren't allowed.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Speedemon on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:24 am

"I'm still on the free version, so I have not tried the level editor, but I think it would be cool to have multiple build areas goal areas and objective pieces. It could be really interesting to build two vehicles that have to meet and work together to solve a challenge. Or a level like Handling that requires precision placement but with two different sized goals and corresponding pink shapes."

Love that idea also.

p.s. Nice avatar (the one that u made.)
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby thetartankilt on Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:06 pm

Is my design a bug - I've managed to get blue rods to go through landscape, but also, they break!

http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=27574
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby pacifist on Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:31 pm

Yes, blue rods go through the environment if you push them just right. They don't love to do it, but they're willing.

Don't worry about hurting my feelings. As a developer I learned a long time ago that people just have differing opinions on things. On the plus side, here I always get things my way :)

In the level editor you can add more than one pink-block. But multiple pink and blue areas are probably not going to make an appearance. Although people have found ways around that (see the current Level of The Day for a simple example).

Thanks a ton for the report on moving items outside the blue area. I'll get on those.

Unfortunately I'm not going to get a chance to do much major development (like badges, and weight measuring) until september. The spare time I used to use to build this game is now taken up administering it.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Sgt Superman on Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:02 pm

A pause and rewind button would be ideal as well. There are times when I want to pause my contraption to study just what went wrong.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Heloed on Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:23 pm

This isn't about the game so much --

Make it so only registered forum members can start threads
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby pete2271 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:36 pm

On the user map 'deluge' the goal pieces have pretty poor collision detection because they are small and moving fast. This is probably a bug. Look at: http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=63796
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby /me on Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:49 pm

Today, it's the second time I lost a contraption, because it doesn't load anymore. I'm just looking at the bubbles forever. And if I use the link, it just dosn't load. ( http://fantasticcontraption.com/?designId=66612 )

Yes, it was a little bit complex, because those round shapes which I had to build, are eating a huge number of parts. But if you are building for the "overly complex solutions" thread, it has to be like this ...
:?

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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby weasel on Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:56 pm

/me wrote:Today, it's the second time I lost a contraption, because it doesn't load anymore. I'm just looking at the bubbles forever. And if I use the link, it just dosn't load. ( http://fantasticcontraption.com/?designId=66612 )


Sounds like you got the "too complex contraption" bug as descriped in the latest updates thread (stickied). It'll probably be fixed Soon but unfortunately saves are unrecoverable at this point, sorry about that.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby RocketRick on Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:00 pm

Feature Request

When you're looking at a list of your own (or someone else's) contraption designs, can you list the name of the level it's intended to solve (and link the level name to the actual level)?

Thanks!

- Rick
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Sgt Superman on Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:34 pm

It would be nice to get the forum broke down into more sections so all the different ideas are not crammed in one area.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby Speedemon on Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:39 pm

pete2271 wrote:On the user map 'deluge' the goal pieces have pretty poor collision detection because they are small and moving fast. This is probably a bug. Look at: http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=63796


great point. i tried that level and they just went through the wood so i gave up. i guess it's like what you said "the goal pieces have pretty poor collision detection because they are small and moving fast."
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby OWB on Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:23 am

I have a strange bug : I can't connect two points on the same wheel with a rod (that means I can't make a "crazy wheel" and other stuff like that, and I can't even watch other crazy wheels because the "Z" which makes them crazy will spread apart).
Also, some contraptions act differently when I watch them several times, without me changing them.
This started yesterday, and before that, everything was alright...
Can someone tell me what's wrong? Is there a problem with the game or with my computer?
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby weasel on Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:52 am

OWB wrote:I have a strange bug : I can't connect two points on the same wheel with a rod (that means I can't make a "crazy wheel" and other stuff like that, and I can't even watch other crazy wheels because the "Z" which makes them crazy will spread apart).
Also, some contraptions act differently when I watch them several times, without me changing them.


Hey there,

The latest updates thread specifically turned off connecting rods internally on wheels, as it was causing.. well... wheels to go crazy.

I've only gotten one report of levels being non-deterministic (behaving differently when watching them multiple times). Let me know which ones and it'll likely be fixed shortly.
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Re: Game ideas, requests, and bugs

Postby OWB on Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:08 am

Thank you for the explanation. By the way, I think wheels still go crazy when you use wood rods around them.

ASFDFDV posted this in the topic "COOL MISSION TO MARS" (or something like that) : http://fantasticcontraption.com/?designId=39616
Sometimes the pink block riches the goal, sometimes it doesn't. Someone else posted this on that same topic, so it might be the one report you were referring to. It also happened to me in some other missions, but I haven't saved them. I'll notice if it happens again.
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