Let's Play [Matt's Project Skirmish Prototoype] 2



  • Because I don’t know where else to put this, how about under lostcast :P

    I gotta say, Project Skirmish is looking like a lot of fun! Even though I’m not playing it, I start to feel anxious at certain moments when @geoffb starts getting surrounded! So it looks like a fun prototype to play, but it’s definitely a fun prototype to watch someone play :D

    And great job on the arrow deflection, especially your attention to detail on the direction you deflect the arrow.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a good suggestion for strafing. Stunning characters that get hit by the strafe seems a little strange to me though. I can see how it makes sense, in that the goblin about to attack you didn’t expect you to hurl your body at him (Surprise!!!). But still, strafing/dodging that stuns enemies doesn’t make sense in my brain. Maybe if it was just a stun attack that also flings you in a direction for attacking, that would make more sense in my head. I imagine an arrow or sword could still stop that, but then again, you two are the professional game developers, so I might be speaking nonsense :P

    My ramble aside, Awesome stuff!


  • Patron

    Hey guys, you might want to check out how dodging works on Bastion. It’s isometric, sure, but is the closest example I can think of. The direction of the roll is always relative to the camera, which feels great.

    It’s one of those games where you’re constantly mashing the dash button. Dashing is kinda like running. Some don’t like that, but I’m not one of them.

    There are some specially cool scenarios involving dashing, which most of the times include a type of frog-like enemy. They periodically jump at you and can only be hit from their back. There’s no use in trying to outrun them, they just jump too far and too frequently. So, what you have to do is dodge around, get a shot, quickly get out of their way while they jump and repeat.

    Very fun button mashing moments, I have to say.



  • I love Shenanigoblins/Project Skirmish, want to see more of this. I think regardless of the fate of strafing the current mechanic of getting to the different sides of the enemy can’t sustain itself with just the base movement, there needs to be a modifier whether it is or isn’t strafing that allows you to flank or confuse the enemy. So if strafing comes out, something else has to go in. The right analogue stick could be an improvement for strafing, and for keyboard players, WASD for movement and cursor keys for strafing. One idea is that if strafing is forced upon the player in it’s current state and it’s deemed unacceptable then they’ll just not use it like @geoffb was doing, but if the skills the player learned revolved around flanking/confusing the enemy I would take the time to master whatever mechanic I picked, if I picked “Strafing” skill, I’d put more effort into learning it than if I was dumped with it.

    So if @richtaur and @geoffb can use strafing in a fight after a bit of practice, I say keep it.


  • LDG

    Oh man, such great feedback, so motivating!

    @Faison said:

    it looks like a fun prototype to play, but it’s definitely a fun prototype to watch someone play :D

    Perfect! That is seriously exactly what we’re going for. Good single player but also video-friendly.

    And great job on the arrow deflection, especially your attention to detail on the direction you deflect the arrow.

    This was an interesting tweak because I initially spotted it as a bug. Unlike AWL, in this game the “mortal” system that decides when entities die actually delays a bit to allow for polish and other system responses. Because the arrow wasn’t removed immediately, the goblin archer got hit by it, then later I was like “oh of course you should be able to deflect DUH MATT NOT A BUG”

    Unfortunately I don’t have a good suggestion for strafing.

    Yeah it’s a difficult mechanic, I should really build this and upload so you guys can feel for yourselves.

    My ramble aside, Awesome stuff!

    Thanks! Ramble on!


  • LDG

    @Josue said:

    Hey guys, you might want to check out how dodging works on Bastion. It’s isometric, sure, but is the closest example I can think of. The direction of the roll is always relative to the camera, which feels great.

    Hmmmm I’m curious to play to see what the mechanic is like, but also wondering if we should prevent ourselves from being too directly influenced. The advantage of borrowing from other game designs is you can build on what others have already worked on, but the disadvantage is you could end up with a samey-feeling game. Tough call, I can’t decide!

    Very fun button mashing moments, I have to say.

    That is what we’re going for, so that’s tempting. But I think I want it to feel more like quick, expert manipulation of the controls instead of just mashing.


  • LDG

    @Affordable_Desk said:

    I love Shenanigoblins/Project Skirmish

    DAMNIT that’s so much better than what we came up with!

    want to see more of this.

    EVERY WEEK!!! That’s the goal. Although the holiday season is about to make that really difficult.

    I think regardless of the fate of strafing the current mechanic of getting to the different sides of the enemy can’t sustain itself with just the base movement, there needs to be a modifier whether it is or isn’t strafing that allows you to flank or confuse the enemy.

    Totally agree. Probably what i did wrong with strafing so far is I implemented IT first, then the side/back damage modifiers. Strafing feels a bit more like it should be a response to the need to get around an enemy. But in any realtime spacetime simulation, there’s always an advantage to being able to move more quickly, so it has uses even outside of positioning bonuses. Game design is hard (GDIH™)!

    One idea is that if strafing is forced upon the player in it’s current state and it’s deemed unacceptable then they’ll just not use it like @geoffb was doing, but if the skills the player learned revolved around flanking/confusing the enemy I would take the time to master whatever mechanic I picked, if I picked “Strafing” skill, I’d put more effort into learning it than if I was dumped with it.

    Oh that’s interesting. Geoff’s tactics game is centered around new player abilities, but for this skirmish project I was wanting to lean away from that and more towards intense vanilla combat. I have yet to prove that the base mechanics alone can be entertaining and deep enough to justify a full-production game, so ability extensions could still happen.

    Either way, this is an interesting idea, and a great point that players will become more attached to and invested in something that they felt they chose. It could be something like you don’t start with strafing, but are given it as a reward very early on. Good stuff I’ll ponder this.


  • LDG

    So here’s where I am with the strafing:

    There’s something visceral and appealing about using left/right triggers to dodge in directions. I really like this mechanic in general but it could be that it’s just best in a 2d side-scrolling environment. I am kind of afraid that I’m latching onto something fundamentally flawed, but I feel compelled to give it time to bake. Here’s why:

    1. It’s simple to learn. In isolation, when given time to experiment with the mechanic, it can feel very intuitive and obvious
    2. It’s difficult to master. In the heat of battle, your facing is changing often, and so keeping a mental note of what each trigger button will do at any given moment becomes extremely difficult

    (And simple to learn + difficult to master = game design success!)

    So basically I guess the immediate task is to determine if it’s a good mix of simple/difficult or if it just feels awful to most gamers, making it inaccessible.

    Really appreciate the feedback you guys! Man, we gotta build this and get it in your hands!


  • Patron

    @richtaur said:

    Man, we gotta build this and get it in your hands!

    But it’s HTML5!

    You can put it on our hands whenever you want!



  • @Josue said:

    But it’s HTML5!

    You can put it on our hands whenever you want!

    Their code, from what I can safely assume, is optimized for a specific version of chromium (you know, because they package the game in node WebKit). If they just put it out there as a web page, not everyone is going to demo the prototype in chromium, which could lead to unexpected behaviors or performance issues. Not dealing with different browsers is the best thing LDG can do, because in the end, their game will only run in chromium.

    Also, let’s not pretend that some people won’t download the prototype code, prettify it, and try to use it for their own project. It’s just not that good of a business move, especially for a two man shop.

    Anyways, looking forward to that build, which means I need to get a Bluetooth dongle for my computer


  • LDG

    Yeah there are a lotta reasons to not just put it out. We’ll probably do the typical LDG thing and release a private alpha.


  • Patron

    @Faison said:

    Their code, from what I can safely assume, is optimized for a specific version of chromium (you know, because they package the game in node WebKit). If they just put it out there as a web page, not everyone is going to demo the prototype in chromium, which could lead to unexpected behaviors or performance issues.

    I was talking specifically about putting a link to the prototypes on the forum, so, this shouldn’t be a problem as everyone (hopefully) knows they are optimized for Chromium.

    Also, after seeing Lava Blade run decently on 360’s IE, I belive there wouldn’t be that many problems at all.

    Not dealing with different browsers is the best thing LDG can do, because in the end, their game will only run in chromium.

    But they don’t have to deal with it.

    Just say on the post that not using Chrome can lead to some weird results and screw non-Chrome users.

    Also, let’s not pretend that some people won’t download the prototype code, prettify it, and try to use it for their own project. It’s just not that good of a business move, especially for a two man shop.

    I don’t think the chances of that happening are that high.

    I mean, I’m talking about a forum-only “release”, not about a real, actual, alpha release. From the 10 people who regularly read stuff in this forum, how many of them would do that?

    And if they were that worried about their code, they wouldn’t have demo versions of Lava Blade and Lunch Bug online.

    (Speaking of which, IIRC, the demo version of Lunch Bug has the data for all the levels, so, it shouldn’t be that hard to hack them into the demo. Not that anyone would go through that trouble, but…)

    @richtaur said:

    Yeah there are a lotta reasons to not just put it out.

    Well, I can’t think of any…

    But even then, I think the upside is way bigger.

    Having an online prototype makes the barrier for testing it veeery low, what probably means more feedback.


  • LDG

    Yeah I’m often on the fence about whether we should release our prototypes or not, tough call. Good Lostcast topic!


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