Here are the main problems our playtest revealed in my opinion:
- The UI was working for multiple reasons. The players did not notice the instructions were there for a long time or ever, and when they did pause and read the instructions, there was too much there and they didn’t quite read all of the details.
- The fact that the rotten puddle is slippery and the candy apple is sticky was confusing design-wise, although this would potentially be cleared up if the UI got players to read the friction descriptions on these.
- The players noticed the different enemies did different things, but experimented with how to kill them without going through the physics equations (again, because of the UI and not noticing they had a shot limit)
- The level was too hard too fast
- The art needs to be ironed out to look more uniform
Since most of this has to do with the UI, here are my suggestions for possible fixes:
- Introducing one shot type and one enemy type at a time in a gradual build of levels to the one we had for this test so that the player can learn the controls gradually instead of being asked to figure it out all at once.
- More concise language in the instructions.
- Have some of the instructions presented before play starts on the splashscreens.
- Design changes to the UI itself, such as wording and font and placement. The font should be larger, in a color that stands out against the background more, and more opaque. We could also potentially eliminate some of the wordy instruction cards that pop up if we put some of that text on the splashscreens first. For instance, the instructions about how the apple types work that we have up now could be on the splashscreen, and what would pop up on pause would just be a card with a reminder of the apple types.
As for the art, I think we should maybe try to even out the disparity between the grass and the trees. We also need to solve the animation and shader problems as soon as possible.
Please post other problems and potential fixes you all have in mind too, and then we can plan out our next steps.