Posts Tagged ‘introduction’
One important lesson I learned about game design in the last year is that sometimes what seems fun to you internally is not always as fun to other people. Also, it’s really hard to predict what will frustrate users and what won’t!
I know for a fact that some people love the extended introduction sequence to Forumwarz Episode 2, butI have heard from others that it was tedious. They found the middle segment too difficult (even though we made it considerably easier after the Beta!) and just wanted to get on with the pwning of forums.
Well, we listened! One of the great things about a web game is you can deploy fixes quickly. Sometimes I deploy new patches a dozen times a day! Try and do that on an Xbox 360 game
Tonight, I deployed the ability to skip the majority of the introduction. There’s a “skip” link in the top right corner that will jump you ahead of the difficult segment and the majority of the time you’ll spend in the intro. While I am really proud of the sequence (and how we got it to work with our cinematics engine) and I think players should spend the time it takes to beat it, I understand that some people aren’t huge fans of such heavy amounts of text. I hope this solution works — it allows the players who are enjoying the sequence to take their time and enjoy it, and the others to skip ahead.
Let me know what you think of the change!
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on the introductory sequence to Episode 2. One thing that got a lot of positive attention with Forumwarz Episode 1 was the beginning, where Excre-Bot and Shallow Esophagus ease you into the universe and gameplay.
We spent a lot of time designing that sequence and I think the effort paid off, as our number one complaint when we launched the episode was that players were left wanting more after their first hour or two of gameplay was up and their daily visits were gone.
The opening to Episode 1 used our interactive cinematics engine. It’s basically like a web-based powerpoint presentation, except that on individual slides we can trigger events and wait for other events to be triggered. The whole Excre-bot quiz was created this way, as was the interactive tutorial.
I think around the time Episode 1 was finished I came up with the idea of taking the interactive cinematics to a much larger level. I threw some ideas to Jalapeno, we did some research and then he began writing. Before I knew it, he dumped a script in my lap that was about 3,500 words long!
He kept saying to me “are you sure we can pull this off?” and my stock answer was me might as well try our best. What’s the point of doing something if it isn’t ambitious right?
I’m happy to say now that the cinematics engine, with a bunch of extra tweaks, was able to hold up to the new interactive introduction to Episode 2, and I’m incredibly proud of the results. It’s not quite finished, and a lot of the artwork is missing, but I’m sure you guys will love the result.
To give you an idea of how much we’re adding to Episode 2, there are more shots in the beginning of Episode 2 than in all of the cinematics of Episode 1 combined. In fact, by the time the sequence is polished I expect it to be over twice the size of all the cinematics in Episode 1.
In terms of other size comparisons, Episode 2 will have at least twice as many story-related forums to pwn than Episode 1.
We also recently have begun testing a new text adventure sequence (Episode 2′s version of Trapped in the Cupboard), and it took me 3 hours of solid playing to beat it my first time.
The level cap will be doubling to Level 20, and all characters will receive completely new attacks and abilities.
On top of this, we’re also developing completely new features that expand the gameplay and economy, but we’re not ready to announce those yet.
So yes, we know waiting for a new Episode can suck, but when you see how much we’re delivering, I’m sure you’ll agree it was worth the wait! As Shigeru Miyamoto pointed out, nobody remembers when a game shipped late, but everyone remembers when a game was bad!