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« Blogs Index < Aeon Project < The Aeon Update Blog
« Livio's Blog

So where's Aeon progress been lately? Since the last update, I've restructured the way levels are loaded to support the use of loading images from URL's. I also got bored one day and ended up putting in a feature that lets the game resize the window for you, in case the level author wants you to play in a specific window size.

So lately I've been working on the user interfaces that you see when you play a level. Here's my design for the preview screen:



The thinking here is that the level preview will be the same level, but zoomed out. And you'd be able to set what you want the empty space to be automatically filled with (terrain, continue the background, or void). This was done mainly because I thought making a cheap preview image just slowed down load times. But I guess I really didn't think about how to hide secrets. I could always make an option for that, which will let you hide parts of your map depending on whether it's in preview mode or not.

When the level is done loading, the text on the bottom will change to something like "Press Space to Start".

Now this is the HUD that you see once you're actually playing the level:



The "Play Time" is basically a clock that tells you how long you've been playing the level. It only shows minutes, so that you don't ever feel the stress of having the seconds tick by and feeling like you have to hurry.

I'm still not sure about this though. This bar is supposed to be at the very top of the level, and it mimicks the info at the top of the preview screen, but there isn't enough continuity between the two, mostly because there's no need to show all the info on both screens and I also have to consider how to handle the cases when the window is to small to show everything, which is why the important info is on the left side. Oh well, I'll figure something out eventually.

Here's the basics of the win screen. It could use something more for the background, maybe:



If you beat the level with 100% completion, then instead of saying SUCCESS, it'll say EPIC WIN or something like that. Maybe we should make it say FULL OF WIN as a tribute to the past demos. You get 100% completion by finding all the gems and collecting all the power boxes (for those rare levels when you need only like 10 out 12 treasures to open the door).

The text that mentions shos is the author's own personal win message to the player. You'll be able to set it from within the editor. And if it's too long, it'll wrap onto the next line and bump everything down.

Next it shows you various stats about the level. If there were no gems or no extra power boxes, then those lines won't even appear and everything might be bumped up.

And finally, there's a link to the level database page for this level so that you can rate it. I might change the way it looks later, but the reason it's beneath the Replay and Continue buttons is because I think it looks better down there.


That's it so far. Critique them now before I waste time implementing them later.
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User Comments (18)
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jellsprout
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Saturday, July 30 2011, 4:18 pm EST
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You are also going to redesign the level database, aren't you? Then I have a suggestion for the ratings that would also tie in with this. You could allow levels to be quickrated on a 0-5 scale without having to make a post in the level's topic and replace the current ratings with full reviews. Currently few people are given much feedback in their ratings anyway, so it shouldn't make too much of a difference. But more importantly, this would also allow you to add a quickrate to the victory screen. People still have that level fresh in their memory and can easily rate the level there so they would probably be more tempted to rate the level.
Or perhaps even remove the rating option from the forum entirely and only having it in the victory screen to ensure that people must play the entire level before they are allowed to rate it. This could also have the side-effect of people actually making their levels beatable so others will be able to rate their levels and that people aren't able to spam-rate levels.


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Livio
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Saturday, July 30 2011, 4:24 pm EST

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man jell, that's a good idea. We could have the quick rate, but underneath it, we could put a small link like "or click here to write a review", which will link to the level page like before.
shos
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 3:07 am EST
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I don't think jell's idea is good. it may be modified alittle somehow, but generally, you're saying that amazing caves like NWUE2, Ace of Clubs, even Snowflake, will not be rated, almost ever. there should be a way to rate stuff with the use of checkpoints/without beating the level. the fact that a person has to open the level to rate it is good, for example - cuz what are the odds that a person opens the level and doesn't play it.? or is it good enough?

anyways, about livio's post, this looks very good in my opinion. very very good; nice progress.


Quirvy
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 11:44 am EST
  

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At first I thought Jells suggestion was a good idea, but the more I think about it, I don't think it will help. The main reason people don't rate caves is because they can't beat them. If they dedicate the time to playing a cave and beating it, then after they do beat it they will usually take the time to give at least rate the cave. I think that the reason for the lack of rates is usually because the players can't beat the level or get far enough in that they believe they can give a fair enough review, or that no one bothers to really try the cave. If my thoughts are correct then the only reason this would help out would be if the cave makers make their caves easier to beat with checkpoints or something.

(is still waiting for more reviews)



spooky secret
jellsprout
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 11:55 am EST
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With checkpoints it should be easier to beat levels. It would also encourage people to actually make their levels possible.

But on second thought, it wouldn't work with other games. We can implement such a system for Aeon because it will be hosted on this site, but it isn't possible to allow any other game to be rated like this. So we could add the option to rate the level in the pause menu or something, but it must still be possible to rate levels on the forums.
But I still like the idea of separating the quick-rates and reviews.


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Livio
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 12:56 pm EST

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Yeah, sometimes a level is so bad that you just don't want to beat it, but you will still want to give it a rate so that other people won't play it, or so that the level maker learns something. So adding the quick-rate to the pause menu does sound like a good idea.

I'm thinking we should also support letting the user write a review from inside the game as well. Maybe we can have a link that says "attach a review to your rate", and when clicked, a textbox comes up.

Of course, all of these features depend on the player to be logged in. I should probably experiment with getting Flash to recognize logged in users first before jumping into these features. It'll probably be easy, though, since I can just load a page from the site. But that also means that it will have to update your online time so that you don't get logged out, especially when you try to post a review. Maybe I should update the online box to differentiate between those who are really online and those who are just playing Aeon.
Isa
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 1:12 pm EST
No. I'm an octopus.

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I agree with Jell's suggestion, on the premise that the level maker may choose one of the two ways to rate - either as of now, with no obstacles in the way, or with the requirement to beat the level. It also hints at what the level-maker intended the level to be like.
shos
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 2:50 pm EST
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perhaps we can make an option for the player to write memos for himself while playing, so that he can remember anekdotes to write about. but I still think you should be able to rate even without beating the level.


Livio
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 3:44 pm EST

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I never interpreted jell's idea as requiring you to beat a level in order to rate. I always that you could go to the forum and rate it yourself, and that the quick rate is just a nice feature that we put on the win screen to encourage people to rate.

Now that I think of it, if you're going to write a review, you probably wouldn't want to do it in-game. It'd be better if it just opened a window to the forums so that if you wanted to, you could go back into the game and replay the level or even examine it under the editor, which I sometimes do when writing reviews.

shos said:
perhaps we can make an option for the player to write memos for himself while playing, so that he can remember anekdotes to write about. but I still think you should be able to rate even without beating the level.
While that is a good idea for when writing good reviews, if the player wanted to do that, they could do it easily with either Notepad or with a pen and paper. The only reason we'd have such a thing would be maybe to encourage that kind of behavior, but I really don't think it'd be worth the effort.
shos
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 5:52 pm EST
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Do you really think i'm gonna open notepad/take out a pen and paper/open the IG in a new window to do that while playing?? my computer's laggy enough when I play hatpc, I don't need any more programs working. adding memos as an option in the pause menu could be a neat thing, and as far as I know, it also should not be very hard.


Quirvy
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Sunday, July 31 2011, 8:44 pm EST
  

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Shos is right, notepad puts an incredible strain on my computer when I open it, that idea is totally implausible.



spooky secret
jellsprout
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 10:14 am EST
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Now that I can finally compile AS3, I need to actually learn the language. So Livio, are there any sites you recommend?


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Livio
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 3:52 pm EST

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It depends, is this your first programming language?
jellsprout
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 3:59 pm EST
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Pretty much. I have used very simple languages for specific programs before, such as Matlab and my TI calculator, but those are so simple that they don't really count.


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Livio
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 4:04 pm EST

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Hmm, I read this book: http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/book/programming/actionscript/9781449398705
It even has an introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, which you'll also need.

I can give you access to my University account so that you can read that book for free. Email me.
Livio
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 4:07 pm EST

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This book is also good: http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/book/programming/actionscript/0596526946
It goes into everything with extreme detail, and it assumes you've had no programming experience. But it can get overly technical and may be best to look at once you've gotten used to the language first. What I like about it is that it explains the stuff that all the other books and tutorials leave out.
jellsprout
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 4:09 pm EST
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Okay, thanks. I'll look into it a bit first.


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Livio
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Sunday, September 11 2011, 4:11 pm EST

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Man I wish I could find the time to work on this regularly. It seems like every time I make the time for it, I end up working on an abnormally large homework assignment that comes out of no where.

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