Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016

Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#139441)
Hey, it's been a while.

Last year I had difficulties progressing with Auge so I decided to put it on hiatus.

Since then I've been working on Nim & Nom, a Platformer/Collect-a-thon. There is still a lot of work to be done but it's now at a playable stage.
There's only four stages in the demo.

Any feedback is appreciated.
I hope you enjoy the demo.

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Update - 25/11/2016

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Update - 14/2/2015

Thank you, again, for all the feedback everyone.

I didn't have many chances this past fortnight to work on Nim & Nom, So I couldn't get everything I had planned done. Most of the work done wont be noticeable as I needed to rewrite some of the routines and spent most my of time with that.
I wasn't able to create any new stages, so the game is mostly the same as the last update. There is a level at the end that wasn't in the previous version, but that was being used to test sprite and is not a proper level.
I'm hoping I'll get more time to work on Nim & Nom in the following weeks. There's still so much work to be done.

Tweaks:
- Flies will no longer stun the player, instead, they can be pushed around.
- The select button can now be used to navigate the menus.
- The player's max run speed has been reduced from 32 to 28.
- The height of the player's hitbox has been increased by 2 pixels.
- The vertical boost given by bubbles has been increased by 7.
- Rearranged the title screen.
- Springs now bounce the player even higher if the jump button is pressed as the player lands on one. It will also add a breif moment of invincibility.
- When hit by an enemy, the player will get knocked back in the direction it is moving, instead of the opposite direction the player is facing.

Added:
- There is now a 4 frame window for the player's input to take affect.
- Sprites will now create a splash when landing in water.
- The player can now be seen while underwater.
- Pressing start on the second controller will skip the current stage and load the next. This is only temporary and I decided to leave it in because there are no new stages.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139445)
I think the art style is pretty cute, and it reminded me a lot of Gimmick! which I don't think is usually expected out of NROM.
I liked the rain effect; before that I think I've only seen rain done with bank switching, and I've never seen it applied to the whole screen before, usually just where empty tiles would be.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139457)
I can't figure out how to get past the 3rd screen. I can eat the pink thing in the middle, and then wait for it to respawn to eat again, but eventually I run out of time? Also, it's difficult to eat that thing without falling into the water because of the length of the chomp-dash motion.

Aha! I just figured out that I was supposed to eat the fish too. Okay, I've now beaten it.

The rain moves a little fast for me, it kinda feels like random static. Like, I can see the shape of the rain moving if I pay attention (or step frame by frame) but while playing there is too much distance between frames for me to see it as motion. Of course, if it was slower it might feel too coherent, and start to feel like a scrolling sheet instead of rain... so, I dunno. In my own game I added some random drift to the rain particles, to give a turbulent feeling.

Your OAM cycling technique is interesting. It looks like you shift your starting position in your OAM buffer each frame to mix up the draw order? I've heard you can accomplish the same thing by just writing a non-zero value to $2003 before your OAM DMA, though I haven't tried that method. Might be simpler? More advanced, you could randomize the order you draw chracters in, which would let you control priority where necessary, for instance you could always draw the rain last to prevent it from causing flicker of other sprites.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139466)
I kept running out of time, which appears not to replenish after each stage, on the stage with the leaping fish. Did you intend for the player's progression through learning to play this game to parallel that of the last stage of Street Fighter 2010 (see the second half of the AVGN review)? In the last stage of Street Fighter 2010, the player is supposed to fight five bosses on one health bar and one timer, which forces the player to get every single step of every single stage perfect in order to find the one path through the five bosses that collects every power-up while running out of neither of the player's two resources (health nor time). Or am I missing something fundamental, as I did when I first tried Lawn Mower from the 2011 compo?
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139484)
rainwarrior wrote:
I've heard you can accomplish the same thing by just writing a non-zero value to $2003 before your OAM DMA, though I haven't tried that method. Might be simpler?
Writing a value of 8 or greater will achieve rotation, but will conceal two sprites due to a bug in the PPU.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139503)
NovaSquirrel wrote:
I think the art style is pretty cute, and it reminded me a lot of Gimmick! which I don't think is usually expected out of NROM.
I liked the rain effect; before that I think I've only seen rain done with bank switching, and I've never seen it applied to the whole screen before, usually just where empty tiles would be.

Thanks, I aim to make everything cute.
The rain came out a lot better than I thought it would, hopefully the other weather effects look as good.



rainwarrior wrote:
I can't figure out how to get past the 3rd screen. I can eat the pink thing in the middle, and then wait for it to respawn to eat again, but eventually I run out of time? Also, it's difficult to eat that thing without falling into the water because of the length of the chomp-dash motion.

Aha! I just figured out that I was supposed to eat the fish too. Okay, I've now beaten it.

The pink thing is supposed to be a flower but I forgot to place the stem. I've planned to only have animal decrease the counter while have everything else only help you maintain your health. Hopefully this idea will be clearer when there are more entities in the game.
I'll fix the length of the platform, or at least fix this problem some other way.
Yea, currently everything is edible, I've been thinking about using a red outline for entities that aren't.

Quote:
The rain moves a little fast for me, it kinda feels like random static. Like, I can see the shape of the rain moving if I pay attention (or step frame by frame) but while playing there is too much distance between frames for me to see it as motion. Of course, if it was slower it might feel too coherent, and start to feel like a scrolling sheet instead of rain... so, I dunno. In my own game I added some random drift to the rain particles, to give a turbulent feeling.

I originally had it move slower but as you said, it looks like a single image scrolling over the rest of the stage. Sadly with the way the weather currently works, I don't get much freedom so there isn't much more I can do without rewriting the code. Once I have completed the remaining systems for the game I'll have a more thorough look at it and see if there is anything I can do to improve the visuals so it doesn't seem so random.

Quote:
Your OAM cycling technique is interesting. It looks like you shift your starting position in your OAM buffer each frame to mix up the draw order? I've heard you can accomplish the same thing by just writing a non-zero value to $2003 before your OAM DMA, though I haven't tried that method. Might be simpler? More advanced, you could randomize the order you draw characters in, which would let you control priority where necessary, for instance you could always draw the rain last to prevent it from causing flicker of other sprites.

Ah, okay, I'll look into that. While I do find the flickering from the rain to be unpleasant, I don't have much experience writing OAM cycling routines. I've gone with a simple technique because I don't wont to get stuck working on it and not the main systems.



tepples wrote:
I kept running out of time, which appears not to replenish after each stage, on the stage with the leaping fish. Did you intend for the player's progression through learning to play this game to parallel that of the last stage of Street Fighter 2010 (see the second half of the AVGN review)? In the last stage of Street Fighter 2010, the player is supposed to fight five bosses on one health bar and one timer, which forces the player to get every single step of every single stage perfect in order to find the one path through the five bosses that collects every power-up while running out of neither of the player's two resources (health nor time). Or am I missing something fundamental, as I did when I first tried Lawn Mower from the 2011 compo?

It does seem similar at this point. I do intend to give the players a few lives and have the game be more lax.
I don't believe your missing anything, the game isn't really balanced at this point. The reason I didn't refill the health/time/hunger meter to after each stage was to give it a bit of a survival feeling. though if this is too awkward, I'll probably change it.



lidnariq wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
I've heard you can accomplish the same thing by just writing a non-zero value to $2003 before your OAM DMA, though I haven't tried that method. Might be simpler?
Writing a value of 8 or greater will achieve rotation, but will conceal two sprites due to a bug in the PPU.

I'll take note of that.


Thanks for all the feedback everyone.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139512)
Krill wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
I can't figure out how to get past the 3rd screen. I can eat the pink thing in the middle

The pink thing is supposed to be a flower

It looked like a candy to me. But then I'm the kind of person who looks at rainwarrior's Lizard and sees Capcom's Little Nemo: The Dream Master.

Quote:
tepples wrote:
I kept running out of time, which appears not to replenish after each stage, on the stage with the leaping fish. Did you intend for the player's progression through learning to play this game to parallel that of the last stage of Street Fighter 2010 [which requires absolutely perfect play]?

It does seem similar at this point. I do intend to give the players a few lives and have the game be more lax.
I don't believe your missing anything, the game isn't really balanced at this point.

Thanks.

Quote:
The reason I didn't refill the health/time/hunger meter to after each stage was to give it a bit of a survival feeling.

The arcade game In the Groove 2 had a similar mechanic in its "pick a course of 5" mode, where the player isn't given anywhere near enough time to beat all the songs in a set, and missed steps cost time, and only "fantastic" (exactly timed) steps extend the timer. But at least that mode was optional, being its counterpart to "oni" mode of Dance Dance Revolution. The traditional "pick 3 one at a time" and "pick a course of 4" modes were still available, using a traditional rhythm game life bar. If it's "hunger", then the metabolism must be so hyperactive that I don't see how such a creature could survive. For a hunger mechanic that works well enough to get sequels, see Adventure Island.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#139519)
tepples wrote:
Krill wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
I can't figure out how to get past the 3rd screen. I can eat the pink thing in the middle

The pink thing is supposed to be a flower

It looked like a candy to me. But then I'm the kind of person who looks at rainwarrior's Lizard and sees Capcom's Little Nemo: The Dream Master.

Heh, it's always interesting to hear what people see these entities as, not even for a second would I have thought it looked like candy but now that it's been mentioned, I can see it clearly.


Quote:
Quote:
The reason I didn't refill the health/time/hunger meter to after each stage was to give it a bit of a survival feeling.

The arcade game In the Groove 2 had a similar mechanic in its "pick a course of 5" mode, where the player isn't given anywhere near enough time to beat all the songs in a set, and missed steps cost time, and only "fantastic" (exactly timed) steps extend the timer. But at least that mode was optional, being its counterpart to "oni" mode of Dance Dance Revolution. The traditional "pick 3 one at a time" and "pick a course of 4" modes were still available, using a traditional rhythm game life bar. If it's "hunger", then the metabolism must be so hyperactive that I don't see how such a creature could survive. For a hunger mechanic that works well enough to get sequels, see Adventure Island.

I'm never been fond of the hunger mechanic in Adventure Island, it's always felt tacked on.
Perhaps I'll slow the hunger meter a bit, I just don't want it to become negligible. It's hard to get a good speed for it at this point, once I get more of the game done I'll do a lot more testing.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo
by on (#140330)
I've done a bit of work on Nim & Nom, while not much, I thought it would be good to post. It motivates me to do more work and everyone gets to see the game slowly develop.
Check the first post for the updates.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140530)
I had a chance to load this onto my Everdrive, and just wanted to say it looks great! The art style looks wonderful (character design is cute and full of personality, and the environments have great depth, lighting and detail) and the play mechanics are simple yet challenging. The rain effect looked excellent to me playing on my CRT.

Some notes:
- The sprite wrap around seemed odd. Being able to walk from the right of the screen and appear on the left took me out of the experience somehow. Maybe have a hovering teleporter or portal in the air instead?
- The bounce controls on the springs took me a few minutes to figure out. You have to HOLD the jump button? Why not make it like in SMB where you jump WITH the bounce of the spring?
- Game title would be nice near the top of the screen.
- Cycling through the custom palettes was a bit hard to see on the CRT. Maybe include a larger color block next to the character so you can see what color you're on, or have a value displayed ("color 1, 2, 3" or "red, yellow, lime" etc)? I think because the character is small it makes the palette changes less noticeable. Not a big deal though.
- Maybe include two modes: Regular and Survival. The current game is like "Survival" mode in Street Fighter II, where your health is never fully restored. Just an option between two modes would be nice.

This game seems very modern, like it would make a good app game.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140540)
psc wrote:
- The sprite wrap around seemed odd. Being able to walk from the right of the screen and appear on the left took me out of the experience somehow.

It somehow worked in Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Joust, Mario Bros., Balloon Fight, and Driar.

Quote:
The bounce controls on the springs took me a few minutes to figure out. You have to HOLD the jump button? Why not make it like in SMB where you jump WITH the bounce of the spring?

Because it's like in SMB3 and SMW where you hold the A button while landing on an enemy or note block.

Quote:
This game seems very modern, like it would make a good app game.

As an "app" game on a touch screen, how would it be controlled?
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140603)
Quote:
It somehow worked in Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Joust, Mario Bros., Balloon Fight, and Driar.

The difference is that in those games you cannot dive halfway across the screen in 2 seconds flat. The movement is much slower. In Nim Nom I often accidentally dive onto the other side of the screen.

Quote:
Because it's like in SMB3 and SMW where you hold the A button while landing on an enemy or note block.

Holding the jump button in SMB3 does not bounce you on a note block, you have to bounce with it, just like the springs in SMB1. Holding 'A' to bounce off an enemy in SMB3 works and makes sense since enemies are different from springs.

Quote:
As an "app" game on a touch screen, how would it be controlled?

It was an observation, not a recommendation.

Another idea: it would be nice if the flies did not damage or knock back the character. They could be like the equivalent of bonus points (or in this case extra time/life).
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140605)
So, the two options you are suggesting are:

1. Allow user to press and hold jump any time before the bounce.

2. Only allow user to press jump during a short window of time before the bounce.

If the goal is to make it easy to bounce, use 1. If your goal is to make it difficult to bounce, use 2. Either could be a valid design decision, but if you're going to make it difficult to bounce on springs, you should at least justify it by making that difficulty part of the fun. I don't think that applies in this particular case.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140606)
3rd option: you could have both approaches. You could continuously hold Down or Up (rather than 'A') to do the current bounce, but you could also press 'A' (jump button) while springing to spring higher like in SMB/SMB3. Holding Up seems intuitive enough, I would hope.

And haven't enough people grown up with SMB and SMB3? What would be so foreign about treating the springs in NimNom the same way?
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140608)
Bah, halfway through writing my reply, my internet disconnects and I lose it. Oh well, sorry about the post being messy, I'm still unsure of the best way to reply to everything and have it look neat.

psc wrote:
I had a chance to load this onto my Everdrive, and just wanted to say it looks great! The art style looks wonderful (character design is cute and full of personality, and the environments have great depth, lighting and detail) and the play mechanics are simple yet challenging. The rain effect looked excellent to me playing on my CRT.

Thanks, I'm glad to here that as I have no way of testing Nim & Nom on an actual NES and have been concerned about how it may look on a CRT.

Quote:
- The sprite wrap around seemed odd. Being able to walk from the right of the screen and appear on the left took me out of the experience somehow. Maybe have a hovering teleporter or portal in the air instead?
- The bounce controls on the springs took me a few minutes to figure out. You have to HOLD the jump button? Why not make it like in SMB where you jump WITH the bounce of the spring?
- Game title would be nice near the top of the screen.
- Cycling through the custom palettes was a bit hard to see on the CRT. Maybe include a larger color block next to the character so you can see what color you're on, or have a value displayed ("color 1, 2, 3" or "red, yellow, lime" etc)? I think because the character is small it makes the palette changes less noticeable. Not a big deal though.
- Maybe include two modes: Regular and Survival. The current game is like "Survival" mode in Street Fighter II, where your health is never fully restored. Just an option between two modes would be nice.

- Hmm, I don't really have room to do something like that. Maybe it wont feel weird with levels that a designed to work with it, I haven't really had too much time to experiment with levels.
- I've looked about how other games have handled this and thought holding it would be best way to do it. Having to press the button will require a bit more work to have it not rely on a single frame, but I'll try and implement it and see how it feels. Regardless, I can always use both methods.
- Easy enough, didn't really think about this as the title screen was just thrown to together so I could have something to test the menu with.
- Okay, I can do this but I'll wait till the title screen is closer to being finished. Depending how the title screen looks, I'll have to do this differently compared to what it is now.
- I have planned to do this from the start, that's why there are the "????" selections in the menu. The problem is finding the best way for the game to play for both modes. Double jumping would be fine for a survival mode but would allow to much freedom for a more challenge based mode.

Quote:
This game seems very modern, like it would make a good app game.

I could imagine with some changes, it would, but I have don't really have an interest in that.

Quote:
Another idea: it would be nice if the flies did not damage or knock back the character. They could be like the equivalent of bonus points (or in this case extra time/life).

I had it this way for a little while but it felt as if they weren't part of the game, or were unfinished. I does feel weird being knocked back by them so I'll fiddle around with this again and see if there is something I can do.

Quote:
3rd option: you could have both approaches. You could continuously hold Down or Up (rather than 'A') to do the current bounce, but you could also press 'A' (jump button) while springing to spring higher like in SMB/SMB3. Holding Up seems intuitive enough, I would hope.

I'll probably stay with the other two methods. This sounds nice in theory but might be a little awkward while playing, especially if there is a lot going on.


rainwarrior wrote:
So, the two options you are suggesting are:

1. Allow user to press and hold jump any time before the bounce.

2. Only allow user to press jump during a short window of time before the bounce.

If the goal is to make it easy to bounce, use 1. If your goal is to make it difficult to bounce, use 2. Either could be a valid design decision, but if you're going to make it difficult to bounce on springs, you should at least justify it by making that difficulty part of the fun. I don't think that applies in this particular case.

I think it would best to have both methods, as it isn't much work to implement both. That should cover the way of thinking for most people.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140618)
Krill wrote:
Bah, halfway through writing my reply, my internet disconnects and I lose it.

I tend to compose my long posts in a text editor. But then I tend to compose my long posts while offline (riding the city bus).

Quote:
I had it this way for a little while but it felt as if they weren't part of the game, or were unfinished. I does feel weird being knocked back by them so I'll fiddle around with this again and see if there is something I can do.

One thing you could try is having the player knock the flies instead. This way they react to contact but not in the same manner as a threat.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140633)
tepples wrote:
Krill wrote:
Bah, halfway through writing my reply, my internet disconnects and I lose it.

I tend to compose my long posts in a text editor. But then I tend to compose my long posts while offline (riding the city bus).

I had used a text editor to start with but I found myself spending a lot more time mulling over what I had wrote.

Quote:
Quote:
I had it this way for a little while but it felt as if they weren't part of the game, or were unfinished. I does feel weird being knocked back by them so I'll fiddle around with this again and see if there is something I can do.

One thing you could try is having the player knock the flies instead. This way they react to contact but not in the same manner as a threat.

I thought about making them move away when the player had gotten close to them but this sounds much better. Being able to knock them will make them feel less significant then other enemies, which is the point of them. They are an easy target with little reward.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140637)
The revised version does feel unilaterally improved to me. All the little tweaks have helped, I think.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140648)
rainwarrior wrote:
The revised version does feel unilaterally improved to me. All the little tweaks have helped, I think.

So you had no problems with the lack of control after lunging or falling into water? Perhaps it's not as noticeable as I thought.
Regardless, this is good to hear, and before the next update I'll make sure to remake some of the levels so it'll be more interesting for anyone trying the game again.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140655)
I wouldn't say I had no problems, I was just saying that it's definitely getting better.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140663)
Hey, this is pretty fantastic! It's rare that I see an incomplete game that still feels like a game as much as this. The character designs make adorable use of the NES's restrictions, the controls are smooth and the gameplay easy to pick up and play. The only piece of criticism I could offer at this point would be to change the palette of the snow stage...it might look a little better if you used cyan for the snow instead of the washed-out gray you have right now.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140716)
rainwarrior wrote:
I wouldn't say I had no problems, I was just saying that it's definitely getting better.

What parts did you have problems with, if you don't mind me asking?

DragonDePlatino wrote:
Hey, this is pretty fantastic! It's rare that I see an incomplete game that still feels like a game as much as this. The character designs make adorable use of the NES's restrictions, the controls are smooth and the gameplay easy to pick up and play. The only piece of criticism I could offer at this point would be to change the palette of the snow stage...it might look a little better if you used cyan for the snow instead of the washed-out gray you have right now.

Thanks you, though I must say, I find it weird hearing that it feels like a game, it doesn't feel that way at all to me. Though that's probably because of how much time I spend testing everything I do.
I went and changed the colour as you suggested, but it didn't really look that good. The cyan colours didn't contrast well with the dark brown/red dirt.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140717)
rainwarrior wrote:
Thanks you, though I must say, I find it weird hearing that it feels like a game, it doesn't feel that way at all to me. Though that's probably because of how much time I spend testing everything I do.
I went and changed the colour as you suggested, but it didn't really look that good. The cyan colours didn't contrast well with the dark brown/red dirt.

Heh, the reason your demo made me think that is because when I was playing it, I was thinking "Oh, so the final game will be like this but longer" not to mention, the controls feel like those of a finished game.

I hope you don't mind me doing a little hack job of your game, but this is what I had in mind for the snow:

Image

I can PM you the edited ROM, if you'd like.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140722)
Gave this a try tonight -- love it! Here are thoughts that went through my mind as I started it up and progressed:

* "What the hell, select button doesn't move cursor on title screen? Oh, D-pad, okay"
* "No select on options screen either, just D-pad again..."
* "Start does nothing on options screen? Oh I see, B is accept..."
...started game, jumped around...
* "The hell am I doing? OH! I can eat guys! Aww yeah"
...progressed to next stage easily, then...
* "Oh crap, I fell in the water. What's that metre in the upper left? Is that my air? Timer? Am I gonna die?"
...ate some more things, progressed...
* "Oh, NOW I get it, the number in the centre of the screen indicates how many of the things I need to eat. Eesh this is gonna be hard"
...failed repeatedly at the next level, for quite some time...
* "Ah ha, the metre is a timer of sorts, or maybe a health metre. I better eat everything!"
* <much cursing at the stage requiring you to eat 8 fish or whatever they are>
* "This rain stuff reminds me of Mega Man 2, and the fact that it adds flicker to the sprites is acceptable but is it really worth it?"
* <figured out cheap technique for finishing the stage generally easy, feeling very proud of self, albeit guilty at same time>
...then the level with the springs...
* "How do these springs work? Hrm, not like the trampoline thing in SMB, that's for sure. Oh okay, I think I got it."
* "Damn, now how do I eat these birds... Great, one at a time? Oh wait, maybe if I hold down the button longer I can do some huge open-mouthed leap that chomps up a whole ton in one shot... HAHA YES"

Overall impression and score so far: 6.5/10. Play control feels really good/smooth, guy moves almost a little "too" fast for my liking, but I think that's part of the challenge. Love the art/style, looks cute/cartoony, like two characters you could really fall in love with (I started fantasising about box art). Graphics remind me of sort of a mix of Mega Man 2, Snow Brothers, and Kickle Cubicle.

I'd absolutely donate money to this on Kickstarter + endorse it much like I did with Lizard, no questions asked.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140725)
Cool demo.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#140782)
DragonDePlatino wrote:
Heh, the reason your demo made me think that is because when I was playing it, I was thinking "Oh, so the final game will be like this but longer" not to mention, the controls feel like those of a finished game.

I hope you don't mind me doing a little hack job of your game, but this is what I had in mind for the snow:

I can PM you the edited ROM, if you'd like.

There will be more variety once the game is complete as well. The the controls should feel a little better now there is an input buffer.
I don't mind, thank you for taking the time to edit it. I can see what you mean about the cyan but I'm not sure about having the ground colour being similar to the sky.
PM me the edited ROM when you get a chance and I'll take a closer look.


koitsu wrote:
Gave this a try tonight -- love it! Here are thoughts that went through my mind as I started it up and progressed:

* "What the hell, select button doesn't move cursor on title screen? Oh, D-pad, okay"
* "No select on options screen either, just D-pad again..."
* "Start does nothing on options screen? Oh I see, B is accept..."
...started game, jumped around...
* "The hell am I doing? OH! I can eat guys! Aww yeah"
...progressed to next stage easily, then...
* "Oh crap, I fell in the water. What's that metre in the upper left? Is that my air? Timer? Am I gonna die?"
...ate some more things, progressed...
* "Oh, NOW I get it, the number in the centre of the screen indicates how many of the things I need to eat. Eesh this is gonna be hard"
...failed repeatedly at the next level, for quite some time...
* "Ah ha, the metre is a timer of sorts, or maybe a health metre. I better eat everything!"
* <much cursing at the stage requiring you to eat 8 fish or whatever they are>
* "This rain stuff reminds me of Mega Man 2, and the fact that it adds flicker to the sprites is acceptable but is it really worth it?"
* <figured out cheap technique for finishing the stage generally easy, feeling very proud of self, albeit guilty at same time>
...then the level with the springs...
* "How do these springs work? Hrm, not like the trampoline thing in SMB, that's for sure. Oh okay, I think I got it."
* "Damn, now how do I eat these birds... Great, one at a time? Oh wait, maybe if I hold down the button longer I can do some huge open-mouthed leap that chomps up a whole ton in one shot... HAHA YES"

Wow, that was fun to read and has given me a lot to think about.

I didn't think about using select to move through the menus, It's been a while since I've played a game that works that way. That will be easy to add though. Not sure about using start in the options though, I'll do some fiddling with the menu later and see how it feels.
I did not expect people to be having as much trouble as they are with the fish level. I thought the level with the birds would of been more frustrating. I'd also like to hear about this cheap technique you used to finish the stage, you have me quite curious.
I know the flickering with the rain doesn't look the best but I'm going to try and use a different method for OAM cycling so the rain wont cause the other sprites to flicker. If I can't manage that, I should be able to at least reduce the amount of rain to lessen the flickering.
The springs are currently undergoing some changes so they will be easier to use.
There's no difference from holding the button, or pressing it, to lunge. Though now that you mention it, I'm getting some ideas, hehe.

Quote:
Overall impression and score so far: 6.5/10. Play control feels really good/smooth, guy moves almost a little "too" fast for my liking, but I think that's part of the challenge. Love the art/style, looks cute/cartoony, like two characters you could really fall in love with (I started fantasising about box art). Graphics remind me of sort of a mix of Mega Man 2, Snow Brothers, and Kickle Cubicle.

I'd absolutely donate money to this on Kickstarter + endorse it much like I did with Lizard, no questions asked.

Hmm, I'll fiddle around with the moving speed and see what's best. The only problem being that, if the player moves much slower, the gravity might need to be changed which would be a lot of work but I'll see how things go.
I'm really happy with the score you've given it. I'm glad you like the characters, I've been trying to find as many ways to give them as much personality as I can. I, too, have been fantasising about the box art but I'm trying to not get ahead of myself and focus on the game itself.
Once the game is finished, I going to release it for free, so everyone that wants to play it, can.

Thank you for the entertainment and your critique.


thefox wrote:
Cool demo.

Thanks!
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update*
by on (#141147)
Well that went by fast, time for another update.
I hope nobody minds but I've removed the old update information and replaced it with the information for the newer version.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 14/2/15
by on (#145242)
Just want to chime in and say that I thoroughly love this demo and am looking forward to this more so than any other NES project in the works now.

Here's hoping for both competitive and cooperative 2-player modes. ;)
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 14/2/15
by on (#145591)
Hey, it's been longer than I thought since I last posted.

I want to apologise for the lack of updates but progress has been slow these last couple of months. There hasn't been much progress that can be shown, most of it has been small changes and additions to the engine. There we're also a few things about the gameplay that bothered me so I spent time thinking of ways to fix them. Anyway, I just wanted to let people know this is still being worked on.

M_Tee wrote:
Just want to chime in and say that I thoroughly love this demo and am looking forward to this more so than any other NES project in the works now.

Here's hoping for both competitive and cooperative 2-player modes. ;)

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the demo, and there are plans for both a competitive and cooperative mode.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 14/2/15
by on (#183382)
Time for a belated update!

I didn't realise how long it had been since I last posted an update for Nim & Nom, I really need to learn to post more often. I am still working on the game, albeit slowly, even though I've been silent for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done before it is finished. Most of the levels are complete as well as the art assets but I'm still lacking any music for the game and the sound effects need more work. I'll need to polish it all after all that as well.

Until then, here is an updated version of the demo. I wont list all there changes that have been made as there are too many.

Enjoy!
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183398)
That is absolutely gorgeous - lovely spritework, a great mechanic, and really smooth to play. I love the ball jump!

The start menu is a bit confusing.

You should definitely carry on with this - it's going to make a completely awesome nes release.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183401)
Wow!! The controls are unique feeling and very tight - it will take me a while to master, but every time i mess up, it's my own fault. And then they expand when the wind comes in and you discover new usable features in your first seemingly basic set of moves. Congrats on making them feel so good. I also love how the control scheme fits perfectly thematically and seems to be derived from deductive thinking. "It's a game about lizards lizardy fantasy animals(?). What do "lizards" do? Being sneaky hungry little predators, it's plausible they suprise-eat unsuspecting prey. How do they do it? Maybe with a quick leap. How would that translate into a platforming experience? Like this:"

And is it fun? Yes, very much so! This is a top tier NES game as far as i'm concerned, should it be completed. Oh, and the sprites and bg graphics are lovely.

Agreed on the menu, though - for me, one thing that's confusing is how you go back from options. Since there's no 'back' item, my instinct is pressing start (same button that took me there, and because of its inherent confirm/enter/continue/start function), but instead it too increases or toggles the currently selected item.

The options "1 player", "new game", and "continue" are a bit cryptic. What's the difference between 1 player and new game? As a newcomer, you won't know until you have done empirical studies of the two. Menus are partly (in my opion: most importantly) there to guide newcomers.

Then maybe you try and confirm 1 player, because you're probably one player, not two, the first time you try it (i did). Hitting start, it switches to "2 player". Aha, it's an option switch.

I think my advice would be not to mix toggle switches and one-way confirms on the same menu. I would probably keep it to "1 player" and "2 players" confirming the game type and starting the game, but if you want to do something more non-standard, there's still more user friendly options to consider.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183436)
team_disposable wrote:
That is absolutely gorgeous - lovely spritework, a great mechanic, and really smooth to play. I love the ball jump!

The start menu is a bit confusing.

You should definitely carry on with this - it's going to make a completely awesome nes release.

Thank you for your kind words and I assure you I will continue working on it until it is finished.
Also I'd like to ask what you found confusing about the start menu?


WheelInventor wrote:
Wow!! The controls are unique feeling and very tight - it will take me a while to master, but every time i mess up, it's my own fault. And then they expand when the wind comes in and you discover new usable features in your first seemingly basic set of moves. Congrats on making them feel so good. I also love how the control scheme fits perfectly thematically and seems to be derived from deductive thinking. "It's a game about lizards lizardy fantasy animals(?). What do "lizards" do? Being sneaky hungry little predators, it's plausible they suprise-eat unsuspecting prey. How do they do it? Maybe with a quick leap. How would that translate into a platforming experience? Like this:"

And is it fun? Yes, very much so! This is a top tier NES game as far as i'm concerned, should it be completed. Oh, and the sprites and bg graphics are lovely.

Agreed on the menu, though - for me, one thing that's confusing is how you go back from options. Since there's no 'back' item, my instinct is pressing start (same button that took me there, and because of its inherent confirm/enter/continue/start function), but instead it too increases or toggles the currently selected item.

The options "1 player", "new game", and "continue" are a bit cryptic. What's the difference between 1 player and new game? As a newcomer, you won't know until you have done empirical studies of the two. Menus are partly (in my opion: most importantly) there to guide newcomers.

Then maybe you try and confirm 1 player, because you're probably one player, not two, the first time you try it (i did). Hitting start, it switches to "2 player". Aha, it's an option switch.

I think my advice would be not to mix toggle switches and one-way confirms on the same menu. I would probably keep it to "1 player" and "2 players" confirming the game type and starting the game, but if you want to do something more non-standard, there's still more user friendly options to consider.

Thank you for such praise and I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the demo. I really like the description you gave for Nim and Nom, "lizardy fantasy animals", hehe. I can't think of a better way to describe them myself.

With the way I've created the main menu I don't have the space to add a back option so I thought using the B button would be fine. In my mind the start and A button would be used for accepting/going forward, while the B button would be used for declining/going back. I wouldn't have thought about using the start button to go back a menu, I wonder what other peoples thoughts are about controls for the main menu.
You're right about the player toggle, there is no need for it to be there anymore. It was originally there because I didn't have enough room for the three game modes but now they have been removed I can change it back to something more standard. I guess I became too familiar with the way it is currently that it hadn't crossed my mind.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183439)
Since the format isn't equipped with a designated cancel button, i think most titles try to stay away from menu diving. I have a hard time recalling a comprehensive collection of examples, but Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse has one such:

Sel+a+b and start brings the secret music menu. From there, B starts music, A stops. Start returns/exits. Select does nothing. Speaking of which, i remember always pressing on A first which does nothing since no music has started playing yet :x

One could argue SMB1 and many other games takes you back from demo to title screen by pressing start. I'd say it is the 'yes, go on' button.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183476)
Now that you mention it the only game I can think of with something like an option menu is Over Horizon. While the controls for the menu are similar, it does have a 'back' item. I guess I should spend a little time examining the main menus of other games, seeing how they handle it, and what feels good. Hopefully, after that, I'll be able to make the menu for Nim & Nom a bit more user friendly.

I know it's ridiculous but something about having B start the music and A stop the music bothers me. I don't know why it just bothers me.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183477)
Maybe all that it needs is a little help display at the bottom of the menu, something like: (B) Back --- (A) Select
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183479)
Both Tetris (Nintendo) and Klax (Tengen) have options menus of some sort, and Tetris uses B for back.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183508)
Krill wrote:
Now that you mention it the only game I can think of with something like an option menu is Over Horizon. While the controls for the menu are similar, it does have a 'back' item. I guess I should spend a little time examining the main menus of other games, seeing how they handle it, and what feels good. Hopefully, after that, I'll be able to make the menu for Nim & Nom a bit more user friendly.

I know it's ridiculous but something about having B start the music and A stop the music bothers me. I don't know why it just bothers me.


Sounds like a solid strategy! I'll be looking forward to any updates on this project :beer:

I don't know if it's ridiculous to think so, rather i think konami messed up just a tiny bit there. A is the button you'd be likely to try first. If jumping is the key action of a platformer, to A it should go. Confirm a choice in a menu? A. Yet they chose B. B is somewhat more disputed territory. It could be a secondary action. It could be an opposite action of A. It could mirror A in some contexts. But i believe it should never take precedence over A for doing what's primary, if such a thing can be established.

I think what gets me that it's not only incoherent to common practice, it is also contradictory within the menu system of Dracula's Curse itself, because in name entry and password entry you confirm item choice with A. I also noticed A / B does nothing in the begin/password menu, where A easily could have mirrored Start, so it isn't really an example of good and coherent menu construction. Just an ...interesting one.


I think this is what i'd use as a rule of thumb for menus:

Code:
Options menu or menus where you'd edit a set of parameters listed as items:
-Up/Down - cycle currently selected item up/down
-Right/Left - decrease/increase item value (cycling or toggling, depending)
-B/Start - (confirm and) go back. Since there's no critical settings, there's no need for a confirm/cancel distinction.
-A - increase item value (cycling or toggling), like Left, since editing options is the primary purpose.
-Optionally, telegraph with < > arrows around the value being selected.

In all simpler menu levels:
-A + Start would confirm and go on.
-B would only go back if there was something to go back to (like if there is a separation between title screen and new game menu), otherwise either do nothing or also confirm.
-Down, right, select - cycle down
-Left, up - cycle up.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183542)
I'll try and post updates a little more often, that shouldn't be hard, but seeing as the game isn't that big I don't want to show much more than what is in the demo so it doesn't give me much to say. It makes it difficult to justify posting an update when all I have to say is how much is completed and what remains to be done.

It is weird that the controls are different, perhaps each menu was made by different people. After looking at all the different menu configurations for commercial games makes me wonder how much time companies devoted to making the menu screens. I imagine it would be small due to time and budget constraints.

After reading through your rule of thumb for menus the only part I would disagree with would be having Left/Right cycle Up/Down. If your already using the d-pad why not use the corresponding direction. I know it doesn't take anything away by having them there but I feel it is unnecessary. Other than that, I agree completely with the rules you've suggested.


thefox wrote:
Maybe all that it needs is a little help display at the bottom of the menu, something like: (B) Back --- (A) Select

That would be the easiest way, though it seems a little tacky to have instructions on on the main menu screen but if enough people have difficulty with the menu I may do this. I say all that despite having Press Start flashing on the starting screen.


tepples wrote:
Both Tetris (Nintendo) and Klax (Tengen) have options menus of some sort, and Tetris uses B for back.

I'll be sure to have a look at both of these games next chance I get.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183544)
Quote:
It is weird that the controls are different, perhaps each menu was made by different people. After looking at all the different menu configurations for commercial games makes me wonder how much time companies devoted to making the menu screens. I imagine it would be small due to time and budget constraints.
This, and that an individual copy of the game has a very low interval of incoming new users so it isn't prioritized compared to what's valuable for recurrent users. It's very different to my field of work where almost every session is done by a new user (interfaces museums / visitor centers). It would be a slightly somewhat different story in an arcade, too, but you're still catering to a recurring group of customers there, and the menu would be designed to make you want to drop a coin in the slot more than anything. That would be why dropping a coin into the slot is the interface.

Quote:
After reading through your rule of thumb for menus the only part I would disagree with would be having Left/Right cycle Up/Down. If your already using the d-pad why not use the corresponding direction.
Yeah, could just aswell have them do nothing since Up/Down already does the job. It might even be clearer. My line of thought is based on the principle that whatever the user does, the interface sees to that s/he does gets what s/he wants - if so even by enabling less optimal modes of interfacing, as long as it doesn't interfere with the optimal one (down/up).

But then again, having left/right do nothing is a pretty clear signal to the 0.01% or something that would try that first that they should try up/down instead. :P That principle above is just an occupational injury. :lol: Another bonus is that you don't have to secure the menu against diagonal d-pad presses leading to 2 jumps.

Alternatively, in a very long list of selectable items, left/right could serve as a next/previous page function. Such a transition can be confusing at first to first-timers if not communicated clearly (by means of scroll, swipe, or other animation).

If there's such a function somewhere within the same app, it's pretty clear left/right should do nothing if there aren't multiple pages in one menu or another by comparison.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183565)
This is really super fun! I especially dig the "hold down to wag tail" feature, it's a very nice touch.

One recommendation: I'd put the orange enemy, which can only be killed last, on a screen earlier than the rain and wind. Introducing both mechanics at once felt like a little too much.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183600)
Thanks, I always enjoy it when developers add small details in games even if it is just an extra animation, it still adds some charm to the game.
And I'll be sure to avoid introducing two new challenges in a single stage so I don't overwhelm the player.


WheelInventor wrote:
Yeah, could just aswell have them do nothing since Up/Down already does the job. It might even be clearer. My line of thought is based on the principle that whatever the user does, the interface sees to that s/he does gets what s/he wants - if so even by enabling less optimal modes of interfacing, as long as it doesn't interfere with the optimal one (down/right).

But then again, having left/right do nothing is a pretty clear signal to the 0.01% or something that would try that first that they should try up/down instead. :P That principle above is just an occupational injury. :lol: Another bonus is that you don't have to secure the menu against diagonal d-pad presses leading to 2 jumps.

Alternatively, in a very long list of selectable items, left/right could serve as a next/previous page function. Such a transition can be confusing at first to first-timers if not communicated clearly (by means of scroll, swipe, or other animation).

If there's such a function somewhere within the same app, it's pretty clear left/right should do nothing if there aren't multiple pages in one menu or another by comparison.

I agree with the principle and you should do what you can to make it as easy as possible to navigate an interface but what about when such methods are really uncommon? The majority of NES games don't use left/right to cycle up/down so would it be better to encourage it or avoid it? Though, as you've said, as long as it is consistent with the rest there shouldn't be much of a problem even if it takes a moment for the player to comprehend.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183601)
oops, detected an error there. down/up, not down/right (in the paragraph talking about optimal modes). Corrected it in the post above.

I need to go but i popped 5 cartridges in chosen at random to see for myself, because i honestly thought this was not always the case:

-Chip n Dale - does as you describe
-Guardian Legend - does as you describe
-Metroid - only via select, that's a little odd but i guess earlier games tended to do this*
-SMB1 - same as metroid
-Batman: Return of the Joker - does as you describe (except the items are in rows, not columns)

*I also encountered that the title music repeats a short sequence and then stops during the selection menu. MOST unexpected!

So out of this far too small sample, there seems to be two common practices. Select only (1st party/early games?), or select + in the angle that items are placed.

So, in conclusion, it is probably best to stick with that. Encouraging behaviour that won't work elsewhere would be bad practice.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183602)
I checked a few games myself earlier as it's been a while since I've played them. None of them used any directional input, they only used select and start. I remember getting frustrated with this as a kid so I just started to press every button on the control when I was on a main menu. This still leaves me with a bit of experimenting with how should use the start button. Use it to jump back and forth between menus or have it work like the A button. I'm not sure what will be best but I'll see how both feel and then make my decision, it shouldn't take long to try.

That's interesting with Metroid, I would have assumed that would have been more work to stop the music instead of letting it loop. I wonder why they did that.
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183690)
Quote:
That's interesting with Metroid, I would have assumed that would have been more work to stop the music instead of letting it loop. I wonder why they did that.


I had the time to investigate and it seems like it is an unforseen bug. The japanese version has a different menu, and it seems the password based replacement doesn't seem to have a hook for repeating the music. Also i'm using PAL, where the jingle repeats off-beat in the title so that's maybe another thing. maybe NTSC users can falsi-/verify this.

Actually, metroid is quite ridden with glitches and bugs that are carefully hidden through means of level layout. Once you start tearing down that and do your own levels, stuff is bound to resurface. A bug permits you to unmorph through blocks under certain circumstances if not ironed out. A triggerable glitch may force a scroll-stop in a horizontal corridor; useful for hiding secret passageways. But this is getting terribly OT.

Anyways, i meant to be asking, what are your thoughts on level progression in this kind of game? (that is; one screen where you have to solve a problem through skill to get to the next)?
Re: Nim & Nom - Early demo *Update* 25/11/2016
by on (#183898)
Every level should offer something different to previous levels. That could be a new enemy, new worlds, new interactions with old enemies or the world, or combining elements that have not been used together. New enemies should function differently to older enemies, not just be a graphical change, and that is the same for the worlds. But even with one enemy there are multiple layouts you can use to offer different challenges. There should at least be enough variety that the player is almost always challenged in some way or another, even if it is not much. The player should be excited to see upcoming levels, wondering what will come next, not just pushing through them. There is no reason to have fifty levels if half of those levels are almost identical to others. They don't have to be that difficult either, as long as the player is having fun, that is what is most important.

I try my hardest to follow that myself but it is easier said than done. Sometime you just lack the experience or creativity to find interesting challenges for the player. I know I have had trouble with more than a few levels.

Well it is rather late for me so I hope that all makes sense and I hope it answers your question.