I didn't post a blog last week, so there are quite a few things to cover. I reworked the training to a certain extend and also started adding a new elemnt of the game: research.
So the last two weeks have mainly been spent on changing the training system to become less tedious. It used to be that the training was done in each sepperate buidling, but that became tedious once the player had built a couple of builsings. I changed it so that there is a centralized training screen which selects the best building to train units based on their production queues and training times.
As you can see, this also enables the player to easily train the elemental types for each unit. I will still have to add the prices for each unit, and a way to speed up production using gems, as at the moment this can only be done in the specific training buildings, which is also quite tedious.
Along with many bugfixes and changes I also implemented most of the new research system. The player can find blueprints for small upgrades to their units and buildings when they open chests, which they can research in the library. The research system works very similarly to the loot inventory, and their visual portrayal is nearly identical.
A very large part of the last two weeks however has bee playtesting. I showed the game to a couple of people to get their input and feedback.
I went in with a couple of things in mind, specifically questions I would like to ask them:
What did they find most enjoyable?
What did the find least enjoyable?
What game would you compare this to?
Did any part of the game seem unfair or unbalanced?
How would you describe this game to your friends?
Thiese question would help us understand our own project better and possiblyfind ways to shift focus from unineteresting aspects to more interesting ones, or simply improve them.
The first step however was to observe the players as they were playing and giving comments while doing so.
The first thing that came up was that the button in the top left corner which is used for switching between explore and building mode was a bit unclear. This was when it didn't have an icon yet, only text. We have changed that now and expect it to be clearer that before, but whether this works will be seen in further playtesting.
Another problem that appeared for some players was that they couldn't find their way back home when they explored too far, so now there is an arrow pointing in the direction of the castle when exploring.
The players also found the combat to be confusing, as the nubs just run into each other and dissapear without any indication of what happened, including no feedback from the different unit types. This will be fixed in the upcoming weeks before release. Similarly the effect of the items also seemed unclear, as there are currently no visual changes when the nubs equip different items, only their stats change.
After the players playerd the game I asked them the questions I had prepared:
All the players I tested with enjoyed the running around part the most, but some said they enjoyed the building aspect a lot a well, especially the ones that had played startegy games and similar mobile games before. The building aspect will hopefully become more enjoyable once we have completed all of them and their use is clear, as well as once the loot has been properly visually implemented. As the monetization aspect lies almost completely in the building mode, it has to become more enjoyable for the player, otherwise they won't spend anything.
What they didn't enjoy was the lack of clarity when it came to combat, loot, unit types, and building types. They said they were generally confused about what to do. This should hopefully be foxed once we introduce a tutorial and some descriptions for the buildings.
The players mostly compared the game to startegy games and other mobile games like clash of clans, which is something we expected, as Loot Nubs is heavily influenced by those games. It also measn that we know our own product well enough to be able to compare it to other games.
When it came to unfairness and balancing, there weren't many comments. They didn't know if items had an impact, and the physics based movement created some strange scenarios, but in general to couldn't pin point anything specific. Balancing will become much more of a topic once we go into beta and start tweaking numbers on costs and training and building times.
When asked how they would describe the game to their friends they generally said similar things, along the lines of: "You control a bunch of nubs (or potatoes as one person described them) running aorund killing other nubs for their stuff bringing it back to a castle."
It's clear with this that the players generally see the exploring mode as the central aspect of the game, and that the building mode is there to get better nubs to explore. We have to shift the focus a little bit, but that should be partially done with the changed I mentioned above.
These next few weeks will involve a lot more testing, so that we can deilver a fun little game in four weeks.