Attuned: An Elemental Journey. An Elemental Puzzle Game for UE4

Discussion in 'Games Talk' started by Fr0Z3nR, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463

    FOR INFORMATION AND CONTINUED UPDATES TO ATTUNED : AN ELEMENTAL JOURNEY, PLEASE FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR WEBSITE.


    Attuned: An Elemental Journey is a 3D puzzle game, where you play as Ellie, a young elementist who is pulled into a different world and has to find her way back. Ellie can attune herself to the special powers of the four basic elements. Using these powers, she solves this new worlds puzzles so that she can find her way back home.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 13
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  2. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
    Added a quick instruction on how to launch the game, since the shortcut worked for MY file path, not yours. Whoops.
     
  3. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,573
    Positive Ratings:
    4,675
    I found the first puzzle to be the most fun to solve, since it mostly revolved around using elements to solve the puzzles, rather than using the elements as a supplement to the whole "move boxes to button" mechanic. Consequently, I found the last puzzle to be the least fun to solve, as it was easier to solve than the earlier puzzles, but was also the largest (and took the longest).

    Also, the box carrying kinda stinks. I know you're going to change it, but make sure that when you do, you make the player face forward (the direction the camera is pointing) when standing still.

    Also, my framerate was pretty bad for most of the game (sub 30, probably. totally guessing because I don't know how to check). The level had the floating/disappearing platforms over a giant pit (and nothing else) had the worst framerate of them all, to the point that the platforming was probably a lot more difficult than it should've been.

    Overall, enjoyable. I'd recommend trying to stick to the element-focused puzzles, rather than ones that involve the box mechanic. If you want some more puzzle elements that don't directly use the elements, I think toggle switches for doors could be interesting.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
    There was something things that I was going to try to play with, which was elements affecting the mechanics different ways. Like if you're the air attunement, you can use steam jets as platforms, but nothing else. There was a crazy enemy-like idea I had (I have way too many ideas, working on refinement and such), where if you were fire, the enemy would try to grab you, but you'd burn them and they'd vanish... but if you were any other attunement, you'd be tossed to a new location on the map.

    Ideally, I would like a more horizontal style of mechanics, where the elements are the focus but affect different mechanics differently. This isn't something that I've been able to prototype out yet.

    Again, I'm right now in the process of seeing what the heck these mechanics can do (going super broad) then I'll be coming back down to earth and seeing whats reasonable.
     
  5. ExtraCheesyPie

    ExtraCheesyPie L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    487
    Positive Ratings:
    127
    Took me around 18 or so minutes to do. And wow, this has a lot of potential. From the top of my head I can already think of a lot of puzzle ideas for this. This already reminded me of Portal in all of the good ways.

    If I would keep one thing, it's definitely the minimalist art style. Something about grassy patches and sky castles creates a dreamlike and childlike atmosphere. Hell, playing as a bald elemental being is already cool enough.

    Anyways, it is still obviously rough. The boxes are an issue. The box fell through the ground on one occasion, forcing me to restart the terribly hard process of picking it up. I had to hold down E on it for like 5 seconds while moving around for it to register me picking it up.

    I really liked Level 2 and Level 5 in particular. However, some of the puzzles could be avoided through using the geometry to your advantage, which I don't think you're going for.

    I'm assuming that attunements will allow you to traverse various environments, i.e Fire = walk in lava.

    One suggestion, is maybe active versions of the attunements to be found. For example, pressing Q with a Super-Earth attunement would create a pillar of rock in front of you, that would soon disappear. Or fire could launch a fireball. Or Air could create a gust of wind to push enemies, etc etc.

    Overall, lots of potential, and a great base, with an almost infinite amount of concepts and mechanics. Frankly, i'm surprised nobody else made this, as I had an idea like this (but since I can't code/use any engine, I didnt bother). I look forward to playing it :)

    Might have to try UE sometime.

    Ooh, and adding some random atmospheric music would make it much more playable. It felt weird without any sounds, and I had to put on some music.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Verno

    Verno L2: Junior Member

    Messages:
    80
    Positive Ratings:
    34
    I'm so happy I got a chance to play this. So, here are my suggestions...

    - Sorry to beat a dead horse here, but definitely get those boxes fixed up. Holding E wasn't so much a problem as registering the pick up was. I think the box issue will sour other wise good levels for people, so nipping that issue in the butt will be important for getting more accurate impressions of levels. It seemed moving toward the box while pressing E made the pickup registering faster (edit: should have read your description more thoroughly).
    As ExtraCheesyPie mentioned, the box fell through the floor a few times on the 3rd level for me as well. (Also, It looks like you are aware of this glitch, but I noticed with boxes you are able to pick up multiple boxes at the same time if you are close enough to them.)

    - Something I noticed on several levels, was some overtly straightforward steps in solving levels. For example in the 3rd level (my favorite) when you open the door using the box to get the key you pick up the fire ability, which is immediately used to burn wood and grab the earth ability. What would be lost if you picked up the earth ability in the room with the key? (Edit: Disregard that first example I understand why it was needed now.) Or on the 4th level where you use the water ability in front of you to go through the water slit across from you, then use the fire ability in front of you to burn the wood next to the water slit. This isn't necessarily bad when the overall puzzle has enough challenge, but its something to keep in mind going forward. In early levels puzzle steps being super straightforward is good for helping teach the player, but in later levels you'll have to ask yourself what purpose a straightforward step has and if it should be kept, made more complex, or cut.

    - On the 4th level, you cannot see the first box you need from the ground. Now, because there is an air pad right next to the tower that holds the box, its fairly obvious you need to go up their, but I would recommend not hiding puzzle components like that.

    - Now this next point almost contradicts the point I made above, but I would suggest making the walls to inaccessible floors higher then they need to be in order to block the player. Like, if you go with the bare minimum height to stop a players jump from working, then the task of reaching that floor is less significant. Having higher floors, I think, would give off the impression that the obstacle is more challenging then it really is. This in turn makes the accomplishment of completing a level more fulfilling ( though I'm pretty much talking out of my ass here). Another thing is that with such short walls players might feel that the obstacle is more artificial or that it's unfair. If the player could climb walls like a typical person, they could easily overcome the obstacle. It's like in the Pokemon game how a bush blocked the player from their objective. A rock or something more substantial would have made more sense to the player, even though the difference between the rock or bush would be purely cosmetic.

    - Its probably too early to give suggestions about the art, but I would suggest changing the wood to something more solid. All the holes in-between the logs gave off the impression that you can pass through it with water. Even though I realized rather quickly that its not the case, I occasionally found my self instinctual trying to pass through the wood with my water ability. (Speaking of which, I think a good replacement for the water slit would be something like a chain-link fence. However, I didn't have a problem spotting water slits, so it's not a pressing concern.)

    - Even though its probably just a placeholder. I would suggest making the avatars color change much more dramatically for each elemental. I had quite a hard time telling Earth, Water, and Air apart.

    - Level 3 was my favorite. I really enjoyed that, despite how small the level was, it was really packed with a lot of different steps. I Also really liked how elements from one step got used again differently in a future step, more specifically the box being used to activate the door, then again as a boost up to the higher floor.

    - I found the last level to be my least favorite for a couple reasons.
    First, I found all the teleporters to be a bit annoying, because it was confusing as to which ones went where (though making the left tele in each pair always teleport you to the center was a nice touch) and there was alot of unnecessary / redundant teleporters . I would suggest getting rid the 'convenience' teleporters that sent you to he center of the level and get rid of the second pair of teleporters, which seemed to be redundant. Also, the first teleporter that sent you to the first pair of teleporters is unnecessary.
    secondly, It was harder to get my bearings on this last level. The problem wasn't so much not knowing how to complete the goal (getting the 3 boxes), but not knowing what the goal was. Of course after playing a second time it was obvious, but on the first run through I was quite confused as to what I needed to do.
    Edit: after watching your video on the final level, I noticed a solved the level a bit differently then you. in order to get the first box that is visible to the player vie, I didn't end up needing the teleporter at the bottom of the towers, I just jumped from the edge, where the earth ability is given, to where that first box perched. Also, I missed the box below the towers at the start, so I took one of the far away boxes first instead. If that sounds like something you wouldn't want players to do (though multiple approaches to puzzles may actually be a good thing), then I would suggest maybe blocking the top cliff of the map with the wood and don't give players the fire ability until the player retrieves the first two boxes. Maybe you could put the fire ability next to the first visible box.

    - On that note I would suggest trying to find a way to communicate clearly where each teleporter sends you and what each box container activates. In Portal for instance (you probably hate that comparisons) they have lines that connect the buttons to doors (which also light up when active). Lines might not work for this game, especially for the more organic levels, so perhaps some sort of light or gas trails might work or a numbering system.

    Edit2:
    - Another thing, I got used to it very quickly, but when I first started playing, the camera felt a bit too high up to me. As a played more I wasn't bothered by it, so idk if its really a problem.

    Overall, I was quite happy with what I played and hope to play more levels soon!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  7. sevin

    aa sevin

    Messages:
    959
    Positive Ratings:
    686
    Do you have to have UE4 to launch it? It says I'm missing MSVCR120.dll when I try to launch Ball_test.exe.
     
  8. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
  9. sevin

    aa sevin

    Messages:
    959
    Positive Ratings:
    686
    I installed vcredist_x64.exe from that page, no difference.

    EDIT: installed the x86 one too and that works.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  10. nightwatch

    aa nightwatch

    Messages:
    640
    Positive Ratings:
    485
    Downloading now this better be good fr0z3n
     
  11. nightwatch

    aa nightwatch

    Messages:
    640
    Positive Ratings:
    485
  12. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
  13. ExtraCheesyPie

    ExtraCheesyPie L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    487
    Positive Ratings:
    127
    I decided to replay it again to see what my opinion the second time is. The first level and third levels are really good, and the second one is good too. I didn't realise that you burned through the platforms with fire on the second level, which made me think much better on the level as a whole. I love the first level's failstates and 2 subtle but rewarding multiple paths.

    (The 2 paths are:
    A) Jumping across the water wall after using the earth teleporter
    [​IMG]
    B) Walking to the water thing and getting through the old way. Useful if you miss the jump or don't figure out you can jump across.
    [​IMG]
    )

    Probably the best part is the clever ways the geometry can wrap around itself, which reminds me a lot of some Valve tf2 maps, where the level is a spiral. Walls can be used to

    In my opinion, multiple ways to do things is a good thing, as long as you don't force the "Multiple way" mentality when creating levels. A wrong way to do it would be those underground sections in portal 2 where you have to shoot everything and everywhere in order to find a single portal-able surface, which seems stupid and artificial. The levels so far seem excellent, and if multiple ways to do something pop up, might be good to keep it. Rewarding clever players is what will keep those clever players coming.

    [​IMG]
    ^Thats where you get up onto the cliff on level 5 if you didn't already know.

    [​IMG]
    ^The way I beat level 4 was by taking the first box, putting it on the plate, and waiting for the door to go down. Then, I pushed the box out of the way and quickly jumped on the door as it rose, lifting me to the top.

    Another thing I would touch upon is failstates. Many modern puzzlers feel that there always needs to be a way to get out of something without dying/restarting, which I feel is an incorrect notion. Failstates are fine, as long as it's not something stupid like a 5 foot ditch (unless the point of the ditch is to be an obstacle). Even if the ditch is an obstacle, have it so the player can exit the ditch in a spot around the beginning of the puzzle.

    [​IMG]
    ^ A good failstate. Entirely avoidable by the player, and they will learn from their mistakes for rushing too far ahead without thinking it through.

    One failstate that could be avoided and feels kinda cheap is on level 3, in the pit with the cube. If you fall in at the beginning you have no way of getting out, as it's a pit with only a single jump pad. One way to improve it is making a part of the wall of the pit short (but taller than your jump), allowing you to jump on top of the cube to get out, kind of like the step you need to jump on top get to the Teleport.

    [​IMG]

    Another point about keys is you should probably have keys in every level. Even if you put them to the side of the starting place, it would confuse players as to if they're still missing the key, even if the portal/door would have a visual effect or a HUD marker.
    Also, key placement is important. The key in level 3 is just thrown in there, and it could use a special area/room that you have to solve a subpuzzle. (I like to refer to the levels as "Puzzles" and the smaller sections you have to figure out as subpuzzles, with each subpuzzle allowing you to solve the larger one)

    [​IMG]
    Adding an air jump pad and a crate on a platform above would make reaching the key a much more fulfilling experience.


    The second time around, I really appreciated the level design, and it feels a lot like a really good puzzle level, even in this alpha. In my opinion, level 5 is fine, although it does need some direction with what the switches actually affect. The portal wire/line idea that Verno suggested is really needed. Great work so far.

    It gets better with age?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  14. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
    You mention the inclusion of fail states, and thats something that I totally agree with. When I'm doing puzzles, I personally find a lot of satisfaction in being able to complete a puzzle in a few attemps while completely avoiding all the fail states. However, I don't like the cheap-fail states where you fall into it with no warning. There's a bit of balance betwenn that that I feel provides the most satisfaction.

    You also mention the key. I actually started with the key, then phased them out towards the end because I wasn't a fan of them, but I'm also considering bringing that back with the new style of puzzle I'd like to do, which is closer to what Level 5, the larger puzzle with sub puzzles. Think Legend of Zelda puzzles crossed with Super Mario 64.

    That being said, it's all about the scope of the project and what we (the team) feel like we could accomplish.
     
  15. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,573
    Positive Ratings:
    4,675
    If you want to phase out keys, you could just replace them with a switch + door. Mechanically identical, but it'd fit into the existing design elements rather than being its own thing.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. Verno

    Verno L2: Junior Member

    Messages:
    80
    Positive Ratings:
    34
    Here are some ideas I PMed Frozen, before he made this thread, but I think I'll share them here as well to see what other people think. After playing the game and thinking about my ideas some more, I included some new thoughts as well (and got ride of some old thoughts)...

    So, what if you could attune boxes to the elements to give the boxes elemental properties. a fire boxes could burn wood and a water boxes could go though water slits (though currently boxes can already go through water slits). For air boxes, I was thinking that they could float in the air allowing players to create platforms for themselves to jump onto (art wise, an air box could be a square cloud). For the earth box, I was thinking that certain box switches would require an earth box. The Earth box would be heavier though, making the player unable to jump with it.

    boxes could be preset to certain elements or could be changed by element pads. You could have element pads that are restricted to the player, boxes, or allow for both depending on the needs of the level. (If you use all these versions though, you'll have to find a way to visually communicate the difference between the pads.)

    The hypothetical air and earth box concepts are particularly exciting to me, because I feel they open up a lot of possibilities. As I mentioned, air boxes could be used to create necessary platforms, so perhaps a puzzle could require that an air box is placed in-between a small gap, so the player can carry an earth box over the gap. Another puzzle could have the player constantly switching a single box's attunement in order to reach the exit.


    Here's another idea I came up with, but this one this new. What if you could set fire to a torch that is apart of a some sort of light beam generating contraption. This light beam could burn wood from a distance or could activate some sort of light detecting switch. You could even have the contraption rotatable in 4 directions and have the player press E to rotate the contraption.

    As an example for a puzzle using light beams, perhaps there are two floors, the first floor, where the player starts, has an air pad (to the second floor), fire pad, jump pad, and light beam contraption. On the second floor is a wood block, covering the exit. The player must burn the torch to activate the light beam and rotating the light beam to burn the door. Then they use the jump pad to reach the exit. That example is overtly simple, but it hopefully gives you an idea of the potential.


    You may want to save all these ideas for the sequel though. ;)
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  17. ExtraCheesyPie

    ExtraCheesyPie L7: Fancy Member

    Messages:
    487
    Positive Ratings:
    127
    One level that could be done is having a large area with a pattern on the walls. Lighting the torches on the floor in the correct shape would open the door, with water extinguishing the torches.
     
  18. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
    So a bunch of you have given feedback, taken screenshots and streamed/recorded you playing the demo alone. That was pretty darn awesome of all of you and I'm REALLY appreciative of it. We've started to work on updating the prototype to be less buggy and play a bit better, along with a few new levels (probably).

    For those interested though, I've been doing some research and toying with a more refined artstyle. An example of which, can be seen here. (It's a WiP, not indicative of final product, etc. etc. etc)

    [​IMG]
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  19. puxorb

    aa puxorb L69: Emoticon

    Messages:
    458
    Positive Ratings:
    663
    Reminds me of those geometric landscape thingys that people make:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  20. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

    Messages:
    6,391
    Positive Ratings:
    5,463
    I put together a 'theme board' for influences. Those are all on it.