Author Topic: FireTail  (Read 6350 times)

Darren Grey

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FireTail
« on: March 09, 2015, 03:57:14 PM »
The world is freezing. Glacial ice spreads across the surface, frost shards smothering the landscape.

You are the last of the fire spirits, possessed of a heart of flame and spreading a blazing trail wherever you walk. You must overcome the chilly sorcerers that are freezing the land and find the final tears of flame, whilst avoiding being surrounded by the encroaching ice. Only through the power of your fiery tail can you hope to succeed...

ArchBang

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 04:55:03 PM »
Bound to lead to steamy encounters!

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail - Complete!
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 01:16:58 PM »
I'm done, woohoo! And somehow I managed to get through the week without making any fire or ice puns... Cool, eh?



FireTail is a hex-based game where your combat abilities depend on how many adjacent fire tiles there are. You make fire wherever you walk, giving you a fire tail of sorts. As the game goes on you get a longer tail and more associated abilities, but of course there are lots of hard bosses to beat too...

Downloads for Win/Mac/Linus can be found here:
http://www.gamesofgrey.com/blog/?p=484

Any feedback is very welcome :)

jere

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 04:36:30 PM »
Personally, as I'm not a huge fan of ASCII, I like this a lot more than DataQueen. The opening screen, the art, even the level descriptions are all very nice.

My biggest complaint is it feels very tedious as the monsters appear to spawn nonstop. It seems very difficult, but I probably just need to spend some more time with it. I died a lot on the second level and was really struggling to understand how I could possibly kill the boss when she spawns 3 monsters at a time and I can only kill one at a time. I ended up diving her and then, when surrounded, just bouncing back and forth to the same tile to maintain by length 2 (or 1?) tail.

That part marks me as somewhat strange. I can keep my tail going forever by just cycling through the same movements, but should I have to do this?

  • Tile 1->Tile2->Tile1
  • Attack
  • Tile 2 dissipates, but monsters can't move there yet.
  • Tile 1->Tile2->Tile1
  • Attack
  • Repeat ad infinitum

I feel like some steps could be handled automatically here.

Anyway, don't mind the criticism. This is very good. Also it's very cool how each of your games seems to build off of the core ideas in the last one.
Golden Krone Hotel -- available on Steam Early Access now

Avagart

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 04:59:19 PM »
I have problems with my PC or... or anything, I don't know. Data Queen and FireTail loaded to 100% and stuck. :(

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 06:39:01 PM »
I agree there are some issues with how this actually works out, jere. In particularly whilst the Firetail is short there is a limit to what one can do. Also I maybe need to tone down how frequently the Witch summons... The back-and-forth tactic is indeed the correct one for her, mind. Maybe the issue is just that she has too much HP.

Avagart, I've been told there's an issue with the game doing that when first running, but succeeding when trying to run a second time. Does that work for you or does it always fail to load?

Edit: I've decided the Witch had too much HP and have reduced her from 6 to 3. If you can get 3 life off her then you know how to beat her, essentially.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:48:56 PM by Darren Grey »

Avagart

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 07:09:34 PM »
In Data Queen always, not only in first run. I FireTail... <checking> oh, wait, FireTail works fine! Thanks :)

But I must missed information about first running problem - in this topic and in readme I cannot find this info.

edit: I tried Data Queen again. It works...
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 07:41:52 PM by Avagart »

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2015, 02:25:46 AM »
You're the first person to report this issue with Firetail. I was hoping I had solved it :(

Adam Perry

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2015, 07:22:49 AM »
I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this, but I'm afraid I have to level the same complaint against Firetail that I've had with most 7DRLs: needs instructions. At least you have a readme; that's more than most. At this point, I'm beginning to suspect I may just be a bit dense :P

I enjoyed the game, but I really had no idea how to use most of my powers. I took Aura 3rd and Dazzle 6th, and those two powers would have won me the game on their own if I hadn't fat-fingered during the Queen fight. (Here I could complain about the control scheme, but I honestly don't think there's a better way to control a hex-based RL with the keyboard.)

My full list of powers was:
  • Burn: Activated by bumping into an enemy, as far as I can tell.
  • Bombard: I don't know if I ever managed to use this.
  • Aura: This carried me through the game.
  • Explode: I don't think I ever managed to use this.
  • Starfire (or whatever it's called?): I don't think I ever managed to use this.
  • Dazzle: Great fun.
The game was a pretty bog-standard "bump into the enemy" roguelike before I got Aura. After that, I ran around in circles and killed enemies. The vast majority of my time with this game was spent running in circles to get Aura procs onto adjacent enemies. If the other attacks are activated by bumping into enemies with more than one adjacent fire tile, then I couldn't tell. I managed to get to the last stage on my first attempt using only Burn and Aura. I don't know if that says more about me, the game, or just Aura, but free movement that also deals damage seems a little overly powerful to me.

The animation on your blog makes me wish I had tried Erupt -- it looks much more effective than Dazzle.

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2015, 05:14:52 PM »
Yeah, Aura's rather powerful - even morseso if you stick it on level 6. But I'd rather give enemies ways to counter it than just straight nerf it. Certainly the Queen does not succumb to it so easily.

Sorry if the instructions weren't clear, though you've done much better than others I've seen try the game. Aura, Dazzle, Blaze and Hide all activate when surrounded by x number of tails. The others are all attack, and activate when attacking an enemy with the right surroundings. Generally the attack ones don't work well with high tail numbers (4 and above) as it's hard to get enemies adjacent. Some of them work phenomenally well against bosses, though!

How did you find the boss fights?

Adam Perry

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 06:21:53 PM »
Ah, I tried to activate Bombard that way, but it wasn't clear that it had actually bombarded, so I never really tried it again. If this weren't a 7DRL, this is where I would be chiding you on not providing more visual feedback, but it's understandable given time constraints.

The pre-Aura boss fights were good. I'm glad you took Witch down to 3 HP, since the difficulty in that fight is entirely in approaching her. After I got Aura, literally every potentially difficult encounter was dealt with by running in a circle. Of course, this didn't work on the queen, although if Erupt does what it looks like it does, then I could have gotten away with it there, too.

If you were planning any updates to the game, I'd recommend more Aura-resilient enemies. Some examples:
  • A 1 HP enemy that can move when you move on the firetail. This breaks a fundamental rule of the game, so I can understand how you might be reluctant to add something like this.
  • An enemy that is invincible to conventional attacks that can only be defeated by being surrounded by X fire tiles -- perhaps 3?
  • An enemy that actively seeks out your fire tiles to extinguish them. Aura would still deal with this guy like anything else if you have your tiles already set up, though.
  • An enemy that retreats 1 tile on taking damage.
You say that Aura is more powerful on level 6. I would contend that it is no more powerful on level 6, and in fact is most powerful on level 3. Consider the following layout:

Code: [Select]
.1 2
3 4 5
.6 7

If I have tiles 1, 2, 3, and 4 lit up, I can kill every enemy adjacent to any of those hexes by running in a circle on those tiles, regardless of health. I can then move to tile 5 or 6 and repeat the process, chaining Aura indefinitely as I snake through the stage in diamond formations. Taking Aura sixth not only delays how early you can get it going (only on the last level!), but it also makes it harder to start up. Since Aura 3 deals effectively infinite damage to everything except the Queen, there's no benefit in making it more powerful.

Another more global change that you could make is to make enemies more willing to step on the firetail. This makes it harder to create an Aura loop, although it probably makes it easier to execute the other attacks.

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2015, 06:50:34 PM »
Some nice ideas there! I might make Aura minimum level 4 so it can't be so easily repeated. On level 6 it's rather nice combined with Blaze level 3 - you end up turning all the surrounding tiles to fire, and you can keep going back between 3 and 6 whilst advancing in a wave of fire across the level.

One other option is to not give free movement on Fire terrain, and make it something like 4x faster instead. I rather like the free movement though :P

Enemies burn to death if they're on fire tiles (with the exception of elementals), so having them walk into your trail is deliberately impossible for them. I could make more flying enemies though. Originally I planned for the sorcerers to cast ice at tiles around the player, but with the time constraints I just made them do a ball around themselves. Some other trail-extinguishing powers could help.

KhaoTom

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2015, 08:15:45 PM »
Hey Darren, huzzah on another game down!
- I hit a 1st run issue as well, where the game seemed stuck on a title screen that was way bigger than my screen resolution, but with none of the usual tome menu on the left. I have saved the log file if you are interested.
- The game is quite nice too look at, so now it needs nice sounds to go with.
- Tried to kill the witch but the constant spawn of ice cubes is a bit obnoxious. Clearly I have some learning to do.
- My best "run" was just using dazzle and diving as fast as possible. Its a neat ability.
- I had some confusion in identifying when an ability was active. It seems they are active when the text is red, which is opposite day from what I'm used to.

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2015, 08:58:09 PM »
- I hit a 1st run issue as well, where the game seemed stuck on a title screen that was way bigger than my screen resolution, but with none of the usual tome menu on the left. I have saved the log file if you are interested.

Ooh, yes please! Let me know what graphics card you have as well.

Quote
- The game is quite nice too look at, so now it needs nice sounds to go with.

Yeah, didn't have time for that in the week :-/ I think sounds would help show what actions are taking effect better.
 
Quote
- I had some confusion in identifying when an ability was active. It seems they are active when the text is red, which is opposite day from what I'm used to.

Hmm, really? Maybe I need to make the other colour greyer, or add some extra indicator...

Darren Grey

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Re: FireTail
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2015, 05:09:16 PM »
I've updated the game with a little balance tweak - Dazalee and Aura have slightly reduced power, but more importantly they require you to skip a turn to activate. Same with Hide and Blaze. This stops the player from pulling off crazy combos without any turns passing.

I've also put the game on itch.io, which is a pretty awesome platform for games distribution:

http://darrengrey.itch.io/firetail

The latest versions are on there :)