Ocean Media Releases Public Demo – Wants Feedback

Ocean Media has just published their first game’s public demo and reported the need for feedback. To make the offer more interesting, they’ve promised to display your name in the game credits (in case you test the demo & give some proper feedback) .

The demo download is available here (PC/Windows, 6.6 megs). Game website is here.

My own general comments:

  • First I would like to see more screenshots on the website. The game looks so good, so no need to be shy about showing us some pics.
  • I really like their logo in game – has nothing to do with the game, but nevertheless – I like it.
  • I think the idea is actually quite interesting – it’s different twist on match-3 type of games, and I kind of liked it.
  • Graphics were very polished, and the website graphics really lose this battle. The game art is beautiful.

Then some hints & tips for interface & gameplay

  • I had small problems with matching the icons because the icons in the game area were bigger than the icons in the right side.
  • It could be good if the option screen ‘windows’ opened bit faster, and it wouldn’t hurt to be able to click any of the buttons… instead of ‘back’. You could simply click ‘High Scores’, then click ‘Credits’… and click ‘Play’, rather than ‘High Scores’, ‘Back’, ‘Credits’, ‘Back’ etc.
  • Tutorial was okay… but there was bit much info. Would it be possible to show some of the information after each level?
  • It could be nice to have some sort of help if you get stuck. Check out how they do this in Big Kahuna Reef (they show tiny graphical hints on where to place things next)
  • Gameplay issue: I’m not sure if this last comment help: but I managed to solve first 3-4 levels simply by waving my mouse swiftly – and I happened to match the tiles. Don’t know what you can (or even want) do about this though, but just wanted to mention.

Bottom line: I’m sure there’s lots of casual gamers who would like to play this game – it looks very finished already. Good job.

Now, people – check out the game site & download the demo, and give this guy some feedback.

12 thoughts on “Ocean Media Releases Public Demo – Wants Feedback

  1. Kal_Torak

    “At least there is ESC now for each sub-menu to quit from and also pause game menu can be invoked on ESC during the game.”

    Thank you. ;)

    Reply
  2. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    [start screens]
    not tutorial… but the 2 screens that display your logo BEFORE the menu appears. Pressing ESC or something could skip the screenies

    [menu]
    Well, in that case I’d made them faster :) … and it’s bit confusing that I cannot press OPTIONS button even when I can clearly see it.

    Reply
  3. Vedran Klanac

    >- is there a way to skip those start screens?
    Yes, from options menu you can disable tutorial, and hint as well. Actually, on every tutorial screen, there is checkbox on the right and label noting “disable tutorial”. It works pretty much same as in other casual games.

    >- i think the glow could be bit more visible –
    Yes, this one is not that noticable….we’ll fix that one any time soon.

    >- i would still like to click different menu buttons instead of “back”… ;)
    Heh, actully that’s how it started. Transitions between menus, when they’re blending in and out at the same time, looked really bad. On the other hand, we decided to keep rigid structure here. Casual games can get lost in user interface which provides too much freedom :):)
    Anyway this one is still in the air, it might change, still not sure…
    At least there is ESC now for each sub-menu to quit from and also pause game menu can be invoked on ESC during the game.

    Reply
  4. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    - tutorials say you need to click mouse to drop? (after reading it again… it said “over container” – I thought it meant that you must drop pieces in the board…)
    - is there a way to skip those start screens?
    - i think the glow could be bit more visible – like… it could blink only once but the effect would be more eye catching? (not sure if that’s good – but then it would be more like in the KahunaReef – and I liked that one :)
    - animations is great addition!:)
    - tutorial looked fine
    - i would still like to click different menu buttons instead of “back”… ;)

    Nice job – let us know when the full version is here.

    Reply
  5. Vedran Klanac

    New Fire Flower demo v1.05 is available on-line. You can check our web for downloading it.

    Direct link : http://oceanmedia.hr/downloads/FireFlowerDemo_v105.exe

    There’s bunch of improvements in the game, just to list major ones :
    – added delay when matching puzzles on the board
    – tutorial is less intrusive, and explaines better game mechanic and features
    – menus are animated bit faster
    – added hint feature (can be enabled/disabled from options menu), if player doesn’t succeed to find solution, in cca 15 seconds, subtle orange glow is rendered around solution position, if no match on the board, trash can is blinking immediately
    – game board is now much brighter and occupied tiles on the board are animated, this makes game to look even more appealing

    That’s all for now. You can expect full version with purchasing links any time soon :)

    Reply
  6. Vedran Klanac

    Well, we introduced delay between the moment when you find the solution on the board, and the moment when puzzle really fits on the board. It turned out to be major improvement in whole game experience. Actually, we were aware of the problem even before, that was one of the reason why we put this demo out for testing, hoping that we’ll gonna get some feedback to help us resolve the issue.
    And something like that really happened in the end. That’s why we’re so eager to release our next game demo for testing any time soon. :):)
    Letting your game being reviewed by lots of people for the first time really adds something to the game in the end. Because, you’re become aware of certain problems other people see and you don’t. That’s just because we as developers are too close to the project all the time.

    Anyway, new FireFlower demo with these new features will be released soon. We assume, by the end of this week.

    Reply
  7. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    Hah, I completely forgot that. You are so right. Maybe have right button for rotation, and left button for matching?

    “Anyway, this small change which is introduced, we got much better gameplay, and more skill is required, than simple mouse waving. People who tested the game this way, said that game feels much better now.”
    What did you do?

    Reply
  8. Vedran Klanac

    Heh, that’s interesting, actually many people are suggesting that, and every single person forgets that left and right mouse clicks are already used for rotating patterns. I don’t mind even changing it to that, but how to resolve input for rotating patterns ? Have in mind that all you’re working with is mouse, no keyboard for casual players. And also forget about middle mouse button. Some complicated combinations of mouse clicks are also out of reach for this type of game.

    So there were some ideas, “when puzzle is over the match, let the player to click the puzzle down”….well that would just confuse players even more. Main idea about user interface in casual games is to make it as simple as possible and to be symetric.

    Anyway, this small change which is introduced, we got much better gameplay, and more skill is required, than simple mouse waving. People who tested the game this way, said that game feels much better now.

    Reply
  9. Juuso - Game Producer Post author

    Hey, no problem.

    Gameplay waving: I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to have short delay, but perhaps you could use mouse click instead of automatic system? (don’t know if that’s good either)

    Reply
  10. Vedran Klanac

    Thanks Juuso for constructive feedback. We appreciate your remarks regarding tutorial and gameplay issues. We already decided how to fix those issues. Tutorial will be devided into sections.

    And that gameplay issue you mentioned, we were kinda worried also what to do about that mouse waving thing and matching puzzles. One of the ideas we have is to make short delay before puzzle is able to fit on the board, like 100-200 milliseconds. That would require player to show more skill than just waving with the puzzle over the board.

    And that thing with “hint” like in BigKahunaReef, that’s exactley what we had in plan for final version.

    Thanks once again.

    Reply

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