Archives for posts with tag: convention

Hey welcome to this week’s Kana Quest Dev Blog. Where I get to talk all about what I’ve been doing for the last week. What I achieved, what problems I had and how I solved those problems for my game Kana Quest (A Puzzle game that’s a cross between dominoes and a match three game that teaches the Japanese phonetic Alphabet).

So PAX Aus is now less than a month away. This means most of my energy is being spent preparing for that. As a result very little new content for is going to be made for the game. I’m patching bugs certainly, but making new content will have to wait for now.

KanaQuestPAXBanner180dpi.jpgKanaQuestPAXBanner280dpi.jpgSo what sort of things are taking up so much time? Well mainly getting my booth ready. I learned from AVCon earlier this year, that your presentation matters. It matters a lot. Thankfully PAX provides printing of artwork included in the booking of the booth which will improve my baseline presentation a bunch. But I do need to make the artwork for those posters. As of this week I can officially say that I have been given grant money by Creative Victoria to attend PAX Aus which is amazing and I of coarse can’t thank them enough. And that bright pink banner topper is part of the conditions of the grant. I have to display the Melbourne International Games Week branding on my booth. Which I am more than happy to do. I also made an English version of the Kana Quest Logo as at AVCon I realized that most people had to ASK what the name of the game is. I want my players to know the name of the game without asking so it was a natural addition.

One big achievement this week was this little beauty (please imaging me saying beauty in a really strong Aussie accent).

TaxAccept.pngTurns out getting my tax information verified by Valve turned out to be a bit of a headache. I’ve been trying to get it done for last three weeks and its been very frustrating to do. I do need to give massive shout out to Carmine Fantarella at Games of Edan (Link: gamesofedan.com/icebox-speedgunner#_=_ ) . He provided a bunch of help in this department. So I do want to give thanks where thanks is due. If you like fast paced action games go check out his game ICEBOX: Speed Gunner, its really sweet and just plays amazingly.

So now that Kana Quest is on Steam what’s the next step? Well the next step is setting up my Steam Storefront. This means I need to make a trailer, prepare some HD screenshots and once again make sure my presentation is top notch. Once I’ve done that I’ll submit the game to Valve, they will review it and it will go onto the Coming Soon section.

 

Finally for this week we have the tutorial. For as long as this game has existed teaching players how to PLAY the game. Which is saying something as the first people to ever play the game were two native speakers of Japanese. This week I finally got sick of my tutorials not working so I sat down and made a list of skills the player needs to have to play the game.

  • Know how to flip the Kana to see the English
  • Know how to move the Kana.
  • Know how Kana match with each other.
  • Understand the win state of each level.
  • Know what the undo and restart buttons are.
  • Understand that Stone Kana can’t be moved.

So I went off and made the following tutorial level.NewTutorial5.gif

So this tutorial level does a few things differently to all previous versions. Firstly this tutorial takes place entirely on only once scene. This means I can add new concepts one at a time and those additions will be the focus of attention. It also is much harder to sequence break than previous version. Actually I specifically made it impossible to do so. I can’t afford players who just skip the tutorial as they will be lost. Anyway I need to now playtest this new tutorial to ensure that it’s up to the task of teaching everyone at PAX Aus.

And with that, another Dev Blog comes to an end for another week. If you are interested in Kana Quest please follow me on twitter @notdeaddesigner or follow my blog here on WordPress. I hope you all have a great weekend, till next time.

 

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Hi Welcome to the Dev Blog for Kana Quest. If you’re new here and have never seen or heard of Kana Quest, read this blog post for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Kana Quest. –> https://kipentheodor.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/kana-quest-primer/

Otherwise read on to hear about what’s been done over the last week!

So I have one and a half months till PAX Aus hits. And I am officially freaking out. There is so much to do and so little time for me to do it. I still have to get Kana Quest onto Steam so I can take preorders at PAX. I still have to implement some sound into the game. I still have to organize my booth’s set up. There are still some bugs that need to be ironed out. I need to make an awesome trailer to show off my game. And finally the one thing that has me worried most of all, my tutorial is still awful.

The tutorial has always Kana Quest’s biggest weakness. I tried to sit down this week and think about all the common misconceptions people have when they sit down and play.

  • They think they are writing words.
  • They think Hiragana is Kanji and start freaking out they don’t know the meaning of each letter.
  • They don’t understand they are trying to match sounds.
  • They don’t understand the win state.

So how am I going to prevent the player from thinking these things?

I

Don’t

Know

That’s it. The reality is I’m just not sure. But I cannot afford to give up. So here are some ideas I have that hopefully will help fix the problem.

Idea 1. Completion Gauge: So most people when playing are not sure what their goal is. If I give a visual representation of how close the level is to being completed it will better communicate the goal. I think it will help players know how close they are to completing a level, but not necessarily understand why they are completing the level.  CompletionGauge2.gif

As you can see I have already started work on this idea, mainly because I think this is my best one. To get this working though I have had to change how I handle checking whether or not the level is complete. Now the game will find the largest group of Kana in the level. Before the game would only actually check the group size starting from one location. I had to change this as if that starting location was the last to be connected it would be very easy to have a situation where the gauge goes from zero to full which would only confuse player further.

Idea 2. Show the Player the Hiragana Table: So the idea here is to show the player the whole Hiragana table after they learn their first three Kana. Hopefully this will demonstrate to the player that Kana are phonetic letters and not Kanji (which are pictorial). The other great advantage of doing this is I prepare the player for all the characters that they will learn. That way they don’t freak out that they are going to have HUNDREDS of Kana to memorize. HiraganaTableGif.gif

Idea 3. Show the English Sounds Matching in Tutorial Levels: The idea behind this one is that the player doesn’t get to see where things are matching. While this is a core part of the gameplay later on, for the tutorial the most important thing is that the player understands the core mechanic. If showing the English for a little bit will achieve this I’ll try it!

Idea 4. Change the Structure of Tutorial Levels: So the idea here is that I increase the size of the early levels but not increase the difficulty. What I’m thinking is a really long level with the same Kana repeating but with stone Kana to limit movement. Coupled with the completion gauge hopefully this will communicate the idea that creating matches is the goal.

So those are my ideas on how to improve the tutorial. They aren’t perfect so if you have any ideas, PLEASE TELL MEEEE! I’ll see you all in a week’s time where hopefully I haven’t turned into a stressed out wreck.

So.

AVCon just happened.

My head is buzzing a bit still. My voice is shot to hell (I don’t sound like myself anymore). And boy am I tired.

But I had an amazing time. Getting to see people playing my game for the first time and genuinely enjoying it was incredible. And getting to become friends with game devs from Adelaide was a blast.

But this is supposed to be an update on Kana Quest and its development, not just me gushing how much fun I had. But as a result of AVCon, I honestly can’t remember what I added to Kana Quest leading up to it. So instead I’ll give a list of things I learnt from this weekend.

  1. Presentation is super important at these conventions.  All I had was an A2 poster behind me to tell people what my game was. My presentation was… lacking. But as a result of seeing my poor presentation I now have a really good idea of what I want for future events.  What I will want is a nice big poster that is as big as I can have it to catch people’s attention. But I also want one big screen for the game to be played on so that people walking by can see what the game is and what its like easily. However once I have my one big screen I will want several smaller tablets/laptops/phones running Kana Quest so that more than one or two people can play the game at once. Lastly I would like some small decorations to give my booth more personality. I’m thinking some nice print outs of the Kana tiles and a table cloth with stars on it would be great.
  2. My logo is not good enough. People who don’t know Hiragana didn’t know what my game was without me telling them. Thus a bunch of people would probably would have liked my game didn’t play it because they couldn’t tell what the game was about from the logo. This is a huge problem from a marketing perspective. I will have to change my logo a bit to fix this problem. And a smaller thing about my logo that I hadn’t noticed until someone pointed it out, the Na in my logo is drawn incorrectly. It’s not super obvious but its a small thing that needs to be fixed.
  3. The game is stable. Holy crap the game really is stable. I know that shouldn’t be a shock. But every time I have taken it to an IGDA meetup, at least one game breaking bug has been found. I’m guessing close to two hundred people played Kana Quest over the weekend and only 3 people found a major bug. They all found the same bug that when moving tiles in a certain way could cause the tiles to not move properly and thus cause a weird positioning error. Now of course I would prefer it if there were no bugs, but a bug that only three people found (one of whom was helping me exhibit) is a huge improvement.
  4. Tutorial still needs work. I knew this going into AVCon and its only been further confirmed after it. Now in fairness, the current tutorial is the best iteration yet as about 40% were able to play the game only using the tutorial and have a good idea of what was going on. But 40% is less than half. Better than it was (previous iterations had a 0% success rate). But less than half. Is. Not. Good. Enough. Thankfully some of the other devs who were there gave some good advice on how they would improve it.
  5. I’m on the right track. I know this one is really self congratulatory but I can’t help but feel as though I’m making really good progress. Kana Quest has had a total of fifteen playtests to date. And of those fifteen, from my perspective only the last three or four have been genuinely fun. I’ve been really worried that everyone would play it and just go “This is a cool idea, but its really just meh”. Instead I had people genuinely crestfallen that they finished the demo and couldn’t play more. I had people come back and play again, just so they could get gold medals on the levels they couldn’t get gold medals on. I had people upset they couldn’t pre-order the game from me. None of this would have happened four months ago when I started making Kana Quest full time. And it makes me so happy to think of how far I’ve come.

Anyway. Until next time!

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