The game looks great. A couple quick thoughts after dieing twice.
I feel like mouse based movement would be a lot more fluid through the game.
Struggled to get air. Feels like it should be a lot easier toward the top. Perhaps if bubbles came out faster.
I also had problems getting air. I sat there waiting above a pot from 50% air and ended up dead because I couldn't figure out how to align myself with the air bubbles.
Consider maybe not destroying the bubble unless the player gobbles it and maybe consider showing how much air was collected via a floating +43 or something. That will help the player know if they are getting air or not.
With a mouse, some early tutorial type stuff (how to use bubbles), and a little more activity (eels, fish, and etc), I can see this actually doing pretty well. With a dedicated server where the generation only needs to happen once and players can join at anytime and do deep dives via co-op, even better.
Oct 27 2013, 6:36 am
You might be right. I hadn't really had the time to set up a mouse tracking system and such for the contest, but maybe I could look into it now.
Alignment shouldn't really be much of an issue. It checks if you're within a couple tile range in a direction of NORTHWEST, NORTH, or NORTHEAST. So anywhere relatively close to (but more or less above) the bubbler should work.
The main issue, as you mention, is that some of the bubblers are extra slow. I give them all a random period, which makes some of them take quite a while (though I noticed that they were sometimes even slower than my maximum delay should allow... hmm)
Another issue you may have run into is that increased depth causes an increased rate of air loss (pressure!) So depending on how deep you were, your air may have just been leaving you faster than the bubbler could replenish.
The way to overcome that is by eating the green guys with rock shells on their backs to increase your defensive power (which, in turn, can only be eaten by eating enough of the yellow puffballs with the spikes inside to increase your offensive power)
Eating the creatures to "evolve" is actually the main strategy of the game (though the game is still so poorly documented that perhaps this is not apparent)
The bubbles do mark when the bubbler has "pumped" (along with the little squish animation on the body itself), but the actual bubbles themselves aren't important (not like they are in Sonic games...lol). They're purely graphical (a sort of "particle" effect), and have no actual interaction with the player. The air bubblers are attached to a loop of random period, and if you're in the vicinity when they "go off", you'll receive the air (as outlined above). You'll definitely know if you've received the air, because your air bar will visibly move. "Full" air is only 20 points, so every change should be definitely visible and apparent in the bar.
Bubblers give 3 points of air per "pump" (which, again, may come at a much longer than desired delay), and the rate of air loss is roughly one point for each chunk of 100 tiles deep (1 point for depth of 0-100, 2 points for 100-200, etc), unless you counteract that with having some defensive points by eating the rock-shelled guys. With a few of them in your belly (and their rock shell forming on your head) the air loss will decrease (to a minimum of 1 point per cycle)
So again, my guess is that you were at a depth where the air loss was going faster (or equal) to the air gain from your chosen source, resulting in what looked like nothing going on (or a net loss)
The game definitely needs some better documentation. An in-game tutorial was on my list, but at a low enough priority that it didn't make it in before the contest deadline.
I do want to add more "life" to the game (and in a couple of post-contest releases, I've been adding more elements, like undersea vents, other plant and coral types, etc.). Hell, I'd even like to have the "enemy" mobs move around (couldn't seem to get them to move smoothly using the built-in walk/step functions and pixel movement; I'm too out-of-touch with how BYOND does this stuff these days...lol)
A dedicated server might not be a bad idea (just to allow for co-op or competitive play), but it actually wouldn't help with the terrain generation (part of the game's design is that each "run" will have different terrain, so the generation will happen before each round on a dedicated server or otherwise) I've sped it up considerably from the contest-entry version of the game (not sure which version you played, though), but it definitely still needs some further tweaking.
Thanks! And thanks for the feedback!