Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Feedback and support for the iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) versions of Osmos
ZamboniMan
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Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby ZamboniMan » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:22 am

I definitely enjoyed the beginning of the game. However, once I got to floating level 9/10, I am stuck. I can't complete the level. Three finger taps do not bring up the menu and there doesn't appear to be any way to do anything more with the game until I can complete level 9/10.

In my opinion, locking most of the game and requiring someone to complete the previous level to enjoy the rest of the game is a very bad design decision. What makes games like Flight Control HD and Harbor Master HD great games is the fact that you can pick any level you want and repeat them over and over again to shoot for the highest score without having to complete some right of passage to unlock a different mode or level.

With the current design of this application, I don't feel I got $5 worth of enjoyment out of the 30 minutes of game play before this game was completely over for me. Had I known this was the design, I never would have purchased the game in the first place.

Hawksclone
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby Hawksclone » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:02 pm

Most levels are either way to easy or so hard you get to the point where you just stop playing. Everyone I have talked to about this game likes it, however we all end up complaining about the same thing, why play the same level over and over if you are stuck? Sure i like a challenge, but with limited time I'd rather be having fun than being the one bragging about beating a level that I just essentially wasted hours of my life on.

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eddybox
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby eddybox » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:14 pm

Thanks for your feedback.

@ZamboniMan:
  • first of all, if the three finger tap doesn't bring up the menu, that's either a bug (if so, please get back to us) or you have "zoom accessibility" enabled. Check the FAQ here http://www.hemispheregames.com/faq-ipad ... ee_fingers
  • For floating 9/10, or any solar level, here are a few basic tips: take your time and wait for good opportunities; grow your orbit by speeding up (clicking behind your mote); shrink your orbit by slowing down (clicking in front of your mote). Play around a bit and you'll get it.

@Hawksclone: which levels did you find too easy or too hard? We spent a lot of time testing with new users and tweaking the levels to try to get the difficulty curve just right.

In general, the structure of complete-a-level-to-get-to-the-next-level is very common in games. Also, the iPad version of the game is a lot easier than the PC version -- many of our testers said it was too easy, but we decided to err on that side. Still, we'll think about ways of opening things up.

Thanks,
Eddy

ZamboniMan
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby ZamboniMan » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:50 am

I found the FAQ before I posted and I double checked my settings; all of the accessibility options are all off. I've tried both the three and four finger taps but they do nothing.

I've spent at least hour after downloading the latest update and still haven't had any luck completing the floating level. What makes this bad, in my opinion, is being unaware ahead of time that Arcade mode is unplayable until you manage to complete Odyssey mode. This should be clearly conveyed so people can decide whether or not they want to spend the money on a game they may not be able to play for more than a limited amount of time without ever being able to experience a majority of the game play. Yes, there are a number of games that use this mechanism but I choose to avoid games that make this choice.

As it stands right now, the only thing this game allows me to do is continue to fight with the floating level 9/10 or play something else. Everything else is locked.

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eddybox
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby eddybox » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:28 am

So the three-finger and four-finger taps don't work for you, even after the update? Do they work for you in any context? (From the main menu for instance?)

Thanks,
Eddy

me.mark
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby me.mark » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:45 am

Ha ha... I love it... You're busting the guys balls over $5... How about 'be in awe' of the programming feat achieved for a mere $5 a pop (EB, you should be called Eddysmooth!). All I can see is a hell of a lot of time, work, fun and uniqueness - which results in some intriguing game play.

Sure, I'm feeling for you that your iPad appears to be faulty (no three-finger taps :o ), but that's not such a biggy in this game as you can easily 'crash' your orb and start again :roll:

With regards to 'unlocking' levels... Umm... Think of it as a challenge "free with every game"!

I guess I'm late to the whole App store thing (no iPhone, just got an iPad!), so where I used to have to play and experiment with software on a Pc for $30 - $80 a shot... I am absolutely eating up this whole $5 a game/App concept.
Hoo haa!

ZamboniMan
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby ZamboniMan » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:51 am

Three and four finger taps were not working on the main screen either until I uninstalled and reinstalled the application. Now I can bring up the menu and at least get back to levels I've completed if I get tired of endlessly playing just one level without being able to do anything else until that level is completed successfully.

@me.mark, if no one gives any feedback about what makes a game enjoyable versus what will deter you from ever considering anything produced by a game company in the future, nothing improves and people just walk away. I complained about the design of the game because being forced to complete a single level without being able to replay any previous level or even access the Arcade mode without completing the Odyssey mode first is a big deterrent for someone that just wants a game they can pick up and play for 15 minutes here and there. My point was, this should be clearly stated so customers can decide whether or not they are looking for a game with that approach to game play. If not, we would spend our money elsewhere and wouldn't bother spending the time to give feedback on a mechanism that generates more frustration than enjoyment.

me.mark
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby me.mark » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:28 am

ZamboniMan, I hear what you're saying... Didn't mean to be so attacking, but was appreciating the programmers hard work too much at the time. A different take on the 'reward' model of game play in Osmos, can be considered with something like FlightCtrl (which is a nice game)... But can get boring (to me) fairly quickly as there is nothing more to the game once you work out the mechanics of it... And then handle the stress of more planes. With Osmos, at least there are hidden rewards that you're not even sure of what is around the corner (in terms of game play), which I see as being a benefit to me the player. I guess in the end, as you said this isn't the sort of game you can buy and play (all levels) immediately... But that to others is the charm of it? How Hemisphere could portray that to new users (purchasers), I'm not sure? Perhaps as simple as describing how the levels are accessed based on skill rewards from passing test levels?

ZamboniMan
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby ZamboniMan » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:19 am

One thing that would make the design clearer is to show the level types that are going to be unlocked at certain points. Take a look at Angry Birds and you get a feel for what is locked and what is immediately playable when you start the game.

With Osmos, you only see two options on the main screen and Arcade only says that you must complete Odyssey to play Arcade. When you're playing through Odyssey, you can't really tell how much further you have to go to unlock Arcade. So, when you come across a level type that you don't like or can't complete and the game doesn't give you the option of even re-playing an earlier level, there's not a lot of incentive to keep going once you're stuck. Mind you, the bigger problem was not being able to get to a menu that gives you the ability to select an earlier level which was solved by removing the app and re-installing. Unfortunately, the details in the app store lead you to believe that you can play any level type at your choice of difficulty without saying that this is only available once you complete Odyssey mode.

A different approach would be to show all the different modes of play with a tutorial level that needs to be completed to unlock arcade for each mode. This gives people a chance to pick and choose which modes they enjoy and ignore the modes they don't.

Just food for thought. I'll have to wait and see what the next update brings.

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eddybox
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Re: Fun to Frustrating in no time flat

Postby eddybox » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:34 pm

@me.mark: Thanks for the great feedback! I must say it's nice to have someone "stick up for us" from time to time, as often people are most vocal when they're *not* happy. ;-)

@ZamboniMan: Very strange that you had to uninstall/reinstall, I'm glad the multi-taps are working for you now. As for the design, what you say is true, but only in "rare" cases like yours. Specifically, we designed the Odyssey mode to be easy enough so that pretty much everyone should be able to finish it, and we verified this during our beta with about 20 testers, who all said the difficulty was anywhere from "good" to "too easy". Odyssey is also split up into several stages, "Floating" being the first and easiest (besides the short "Tutorial"). When you complete Floating (and you're close) 3 of the 8 Arcade modes are unlocked. Again, from our testing, this seemed like a very easy goal for people to reach. We figured that a small percentage of people might have a little trouble with it, but with perseverance, even they would be able to get through. So... we really didn't expect your level of frustration, and didn't design "for" it -- we thought we had designed "around" it. Perhaps our testers were too strong a group of gamers and skewed our calibration. We do appreciate your feedback though; and it's something for us to think about in an update. In the meantime, if you really can't get by it, all I can suggest is to hand the game over to a hardcore-gamer friend (starting on Tutorial level 1,) and hope they have better success, unlocking some of those Arcade modes for you. :)

Thanks,
Eddy


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