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2017 - 3 - 30 / 4:16 pm / general

Sky Sisters Upgrades

Sky Sisters Upgrades

I think the last actual question to ponder in the world of Super Sky Sisters is the upgrade system. A long time ago when I demoed the game at an event in Denver I got some feedback that suggested that it would be more interesting or fun if the players had some sort of active goal to pursue. This came mostly in the form of maybe collecting something actively, or something along those lines. Basically the way that the game is played right now is that you are always just reacting to things and never just acting.

The strongest idea that came out of thinking on this for awhile was tying the upgrades to some sort of active goal that the players could pursue. I decided to go down the path of collecting things and put a small challenge in that involves the players guiding the orb along a predetermined path. When they completed a lap on the path they would earn an upgrade, and the path would then demand more of them for the next upgrade by either changing shape or adding more laps, and so on. At first this seemed like a good idea but lately I'm totally not sure.

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The upgrades are things like +20% damage, or +10% special recharge, or +50% loot range. I think the upgrades are actually a lot of fun and when I added them to the game it seemed to really fit and complete some sort of puzzle that I was staring at for months. It almost seems like a hack since it seems like players in general are always going to respond well with some sort of +X% of something opportunity in a game, but it also gives the sense of progress and that is actually quite difficult in Sky Sisters since the entire game takes place in a single square arena.

So right now I'm at a crossroads. I like how the upgrades require the players to do something actively to earn them, but the more I look at it the more complex it seems. Adding this new idea of an upgrade path on top of everything else just seems like a giant mess, and the game is already messy and chaotic most of the time (especially at the higher difficulties.)

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The more I think about it the more I want to remove this system entirely and make upgrades a thing you just earn halfway before a boss, and immediately after a boss. This is the super tough part of designing a game like this. It's not as obvious to me as say changing the layout of a level to teach a mechanic easier. It's a big system with a lot of moving parts and messing with one part changes all the others. When I watch people play the game it seems like they're already trying their hardest to just survive and go for a high score, so maybe I'm reading into this feedback a little bit in the wrong direction.

Back when I received this feedback it was at a point where the game was much slower paced, so maybe the player felt like they just wanted more going on and not so much down time. The idea is that during this "down time" the players can work toward some goal, but I'm not sure if this is the right way to accomplish that. Since PAX I made the game faster paced, and it worked out better than I thought.

Not sure what I'm going to do! I think I will probably remove this whole path tracking challenge to get upgrades. Or... as I've typed this out I thought maybe if there was something on the screen that the players could always shoot that might be fun... but ... now I'm already thinking of how that could go horribly wrong too. Oh well. Video games!

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2017 - 3 - 30 / 4:06 pm / general

Doodle Post

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2017 - 3 - 30 / 4:05 pm / doodle

Doodle Post

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2017 - 3 - 28 / 9:39 pm / doodle

Doodle Post

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2017 - 3 - 28 / 9:32 pm / general

Habit Tracking Tests

Habit Tracking Tests

Routine will always always always be something I consistently struggle with. I'm not really sure how to overcome this since I've been fighting it for pretty much as long as I can remember. Sitting in school everyday felt like torture and when I think back to it I'm not even sure how I made it through it.

It's not a secret that I have a lot of depression and anxiety related brain issues, so trying to fight those constantly is pretty much my every day life. Lately I've been pretty off the wagon when it comes to pretty much everything and I feel like I can't bring myself to do dang near anything. I've been trying to fight that on multiple fronts so here's just an example of one of them:

In the past I've had varying results with habit tracking stuff. I've used a lot of different tips and tricks and websites and applications. Thinking back on it I think the results have been overall pretty good, so I've tried to dive back into it. I grabbed a little app called Loop which is the most effective and most simple habit tracking app I could find. (I tried out a couple and oh boy are some of them terrible.)

Loop is pretty straight forward. All it ends up being is a list of what you want to accomplish every day and some boxes you can change into checkmarks for when you do them. You can set up different habits to be only on certain days, or just leave it on the default of every day. Right now my list is: Rowing 1mi, Rowing 2mi+, Walk 1mi, Draw 1hr, Draw 2hr+, Kpulv Projects 1hr, Kpulv Projects 2hr+, Contract Work 1hr, Contract Work 2hr+. I'm aiming to go for at least 1 hour on a bunch of stuff every day, and I consider the 2hr+ categories to be totally bonus.

For the rowing category that is one of the other fronts I am trying to fight the depression on. I got a relatively cheapo rower for Christmas and I've been pushing myself to row 2 miles a day. I think that's pretty good? But who knows. Maybe other people do like 10 miles a day and I'm super lazy. Walking is also on the list as that has the bonus of getting me out of my apartment. Walking around Denver is always nice, and being able to get my Pokemon GO in for the day as well is even better.

I've often seen articles and research that suggest that humans are creatures of habit. If you do something on repeat long enough it becomes a compulsion, but I'm not sure if I buy that. When a routine forms for me my brain does everything in its power to resist it constantly. As soon as I get into a habit I just want to break it because to my mind it feels so good to do so. I'm not sure if this is something that I'm totally alone in struggling with or what because it seems like everyone's cure for depression and other mental ailments is to just form good habits! Yeah, it's so simple...

This Loop app I think is helping though. It's satisfying to see the checkmarks fall into place, and it also has some neat graphs to show how each habit is progressing overall. My downfall with these types of applications is always the same though. Once I start to slip up the app reminds me how bad I'm doing. The missing checkmarks become a horrible sight and I cant stand to face them and I end up spiraling back down, so it always is a double edged swords with these kinds of things. When people suggest to establish goals for sorting out weird mental stuff I wonder if they consider what happens when someone consistently fails at these goals? It's a pretty bad feeling when you can't even meet your lowest expectations! But maybe people that are shining beacons of happiness never experience this.

Alright this is getting into weird rambly thoughts so that means it's time to wrap it up. So far I'm enjoying this habit tracking stuff but also I'm mostly on top of the stuff that I care about the most right now (mainly the exercise related habits.) We'll see how long I can stay on this wagon.

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2017 - 3 - 28 / 5:56 pm / doodle

Doodle Post

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about

About

Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.

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