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cmadruga

Entry 2020: Infiltrator

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7 minutes ago, Old Timey Retro Gamer said:

Thank you.  These worked! 

 

It's probably something to do with the memory segments then.

I will post the game in bin/cfg format on the first post.

 

Thanks.

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Feedback to developer of Infiltrator.

 

First, let me just say this is an awesome game,
and I would certainly be OK with leaving it as is.

 

But in case there is room for tweaks,
I'll point out a few things of note.

 

These comments apply to the 11102020 rom.
I use jzintv on Windows to play the games.

 

1. There is a noticeable pause/freeze of motion when
   the infiltrator is first detected by some agent.
   This pause doesn't appear in the original alpha version,
   so it's likely related to the new sound effects, as a guess.

 

2. Upon returning to the starting room from the east, I was apparently
   a little too far north, and ended up in the forest.
   I could not proceed nor back out ... game over.

 

3. Going north from the first comm tower, in the upper right corner,
   brings me into the forest, where I cannot move except to go back
   to the previous room.  Not a serious problem, but perhaps not intended.

 

4. The mine field resets every time a room is left/reentered,
   or even from just picking up an object.  I really disliked this
   at first, but as I became familiar with the game and reduced
   the number of traversals through the mine field, it's less
   of an issue.  But if it's easy to do, perhaps you could keep
   the exposed mines visible, at least at the lower difficulty level(s).
   (For bonus points, randomizing the mine field would boost
   replay value.)

 

5. Would be nice if "equip" was automatic when obtaining the
   first instance of a class of object.  (This is less of an issue
   now.  In an earlier alpha version, there was a noticeable
   annoying pause when trying to exit from the inventory screen.)

 

6. In the bottom row of the inventory screen, I can never find an
   item to go into position 2.  From the game play video in an
   earlier post, it looks to hold some kind of spray can.
   I finished play at both the easy and normal levels,
   without finding that item.  There is an empty truck
   in one scene, so maybe it used to be there?
   Or maybe it's only for the Insane skill level.
   Not asking for spoilers, just want to make sure
   it isn't being overlooked.

 

To end on a positive note, the original alpha had a long pause before
showing the title screen, presumably for some long running initialization.
This appears to have been moved to just after selecting the difficulty level,
which is a definite improvement.  Of course, anything that could be done
to hide it further would improve the experience.  Maybe even just showing
an hourglass, to show it's not just hanging.  Or maybe some simple text,
like "And the mission begins ...", to occupy the user for a second or two.
 

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@Peripheral

 

Developer here. Thank you so much for testing the game and taking the time to provide detailed feedback!

That was very helpful.

 

A few comments:

 

1. The pause is not due to any technical reasons, I introduced it on purpose. 

My idea was to introduce a little more emphasis to the act of being spotted, which is supposed to be very consequential in this game.

However, you are the second person to ask me about it, so I will rethink the approach.

 

2 and 3. Looks like I need to tweak specific tiles at a couple of screens. Should be straightforward, thank you.

 

4. I've been asked about randomizing the minefield before... I agree it would help replayability.

This one has a few technical complications.

Right now, given I can't use bank switching for this contest, I don't have space to include a maze generation algorithm.

I don't know that purely randomized mine placement would always lead to a solvable layout either. 

So I guess I could investigate the possibility of squeezing additional pre-defined layouts...

On the question about minefield resetting, I see your point. I'm not storing the status of revealed mines anywhere, so I would have to think about it from a technical standpoint.

Either way, thanks for the feedback.

 

5. Great "quality of life" type of suggestion. Thanks!

 

6.Yeah that was for the "Scent Killer" spray can, which was supposed to be used in conjunction with invisibility to be able to get past dogs.

You know, because dogs may not SEE you, but they can still SMELL you...

But in the end I thought it would make things too complicated, so I removed the object.

I have an idea for another object that could use that slot (for a different purpose), but I haven't decided yet.

 

I will take a look at the long pause you mention and see what can be done!

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by cmadruga
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On 11/18/2020 at 11:45 AM, cmadruga said:

1. The pause is not due to any technical reasons, I introduced it on purpose. 

My idea was to introduce a little more emphasis to the act of being spotted, which is supposed to be very consequential in this game.

However, you are the second person to ask me about it, so I will rethink the approach.

Perhaps pause plus a subtle sound effect? a soft click?

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2 hours ago, bhall408 said:

Perhaps pause plus a subtle sound effect? a soft click?

There is already a sound effect, though I can't quite make out what it is.

Sounds like a muffled "mwah".  A bell or ding might be better.

Or if you can finagle the sound generator to mimick "Hey!",

that would be awesome.

 

The border also turns red upon detection.

 

The combination of a sound effect, and border color change, suffice IMHO.

So I would avoid the pause.  Or at least make it shorter.

 

BTW, forgot to mention in my earlier post, the stability is such that

you can probably remove "Alpha" from the title screen.

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Just posted an updated alpha.

Covered everything reported by @Peripheral, except for the minefield enhancements.

 

Hopefully I didn't break what was already working! 

 

2 hours ago, Peripheral said:

BTW, forgot to mention in my earlier post, the stability is such that

you can probably remove "Alpha" from the title screen.

I'm keeping it as "alpha" for now because there could be more features added once the contest is over ;-)

Right now I'm constrained by the "no bank switching" rule.

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Oops! Caught a conflict between the new auto-equip functionality and the Risk Scanner.

 

Will remove the file for now until I fix it.

 

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I was able to download the 11192020 rom before you took it down.

 

Most things are indeed fixed ... thanks!

 

The initial pause appears to be back before the title screen again.

Either way is fine, but my preference is to move it after the difficulty level.

 

And I noticed an issue with the med kit.  If I use it to heal up while I'm leaving

a blood trail, the blood trail still continues for a bit.

 

The risk scanner is pretty cool.  But it's a double edged sword.

It might give away too much information, for those cases where

the agent's field of view isn't a simple rectangle.  One of the

things I enjoyed was discovering on my own how far I could

push the boundary before being detected.  And where the scanner

is conservatively broad, it might discourage the user from

trying to seek out a legitimate safe route.  These are minor

issues, and can probably be mitigated by saying in the

instructions that the scanner is not 100% accurate,

and so there's some wiggle room for exploration or

being detected.  Or, perhaps only show the scanner in

some of the initial, easier rooms, or maybe have some

rooms where a magic force prevents the scanner from working.

If you go this latter route, you could probably then enable

the scanner at higher skill levels.

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New files are up, it is amazing but also scary how getting literally 1 bit set incorrectly can have a significant impact on the user experience.

 

@Peripheral

The long pause only happens the first time you initiate the title screen.

Notice that if you die or finish the game, you will experience no wait as you return to the title screen.

So why is that? Well, the emulator seems to have uneven performance when it is initiated, and that goes on for a few seconds.

I don't know what is the technical reason for that, it is way above my pay grade.

The wait is intended to let things settle down a bit from a framerate standpoint. 

 

To your question about bleeding and the med kit: bleeding is just cosmetic for now.

Nothing you can do will affect it, it will just stop after a while. One idea would be to have the med kit indeed make it stop, but that's not in place yet.

 

I agree with you on the down sides of overusing the risk scanner and eliminating the fun, that's why it's only available on easy mode.

That mode has a few restrictions already, like not being able to see your score, not facing elite enemies, and not being able to finish the game.

So far I haven't restricted locations accessible, but that is a thought.

 

Still, the scanner can be used to highlight some pretty interesting situations, like the one below... not for the faint hearted ;-)

 

 

image.thumb.png.792188fb587b3f688d65b1d6b9c35327.png

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by cmadruga
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I just completed this game on the real Intellivision on my LTO Flash.  I keep activating the cloak when I want to go to the menu on the computer.  Intellivision keypad helps me with that issue.  Digitized sounds are great. Music is pretty good, a little to low volume for me to make it out but still can hear it.  I don't have the ECS, but the sound's still good.  Reminds me of Perfect Dark for the GBC which Rare used similar technique I believe.  I got 80%, competent rating, yay.  I noticed objective 4 implied more than 1 exit(Ending).  Hmm...

Only few part is hard to pass like the dogs, not sure if the cloak level 2 work against the dogs.  I think it's good substitute for the spray can.  At power level 2, the cloaking device is strong enough to suck up your stink for a few seconds.  At power level 3, it emits EMP so the tech can't detect you or freeze the robot in place. 

Only thing I can think of improving the game is using the med kit by pressing 3, even if it not equipped since it has it own button. The cloak is fine since you need to pick a power level. 

This is a very well made game.  Very nice job.

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Been playing this a little more, on the hard level.

Wanted to point out a couple things that seem like

glitches, but perhaps they're intentional.

 

When entering the "last" mine field screen from the east, there apparently is

a mine immediately to the left of the H in the health points display.

This mine may not show up when entering the room initially, but can

be exposed by going into the room a little ways and then back tracking.

So it seems to be either out of place, or not properly triggering/exposing when

entering the room.   It occurred to me that my feet have to be in just the

right place to trigger it, so I tried going back and forth with my feet in

various positions.  Sometimes it triggered, sometimes it didn't.  Seemed

flaky.  And certainly seems mean to be able to step on a mine just by

entering the room.  BTW, having randomly scattered mines seems more

realistic than a clean maze.  Perhaps a mixture of the two would be ideal.

 

After hacking the last comm tower, and going south into the dark room,

and enabling its visibility, of course, the enemy thing seems to jerk around

in place.   Again, maybe that's intentional, but my first thought was that it

was some buggy animation.  Most often the enemy is just to the left of the

exit door, so there's no problem.  But a couple of times he's been blocking that

exit, and not moving anywhere.

 

Still an awesome game.  The only other thing I would add is that a couple of

the early rooms are simply too easy.  Adding a little more challenge is welcome.

(Though I've tried enough of the insane level to know there's plenty of challenge ahead!)

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@Peripheral

Thanks for the feedback!

 

I will check out that one mine that is showing up close to the screen border. That is definitely a bug, that mine should not be there.

 

On the scattered mine idea... it seems to be a recurring comment from players that the minefield would be more fun if some type of variability would be introduced.

Alternate layouts, random/scattered placement of mines, etc.

I'm looking into what can be done.

 

On the issue with the enemy in the dark room, it's the first time I hear it.  It never happened with me either.

Hmmm... if there is a way to replicate the bug consistently, let me know. Either way, I will take a look at it.

 

So, some screens are too easy... interesting 🙂 

Do you think a few tweaks could improve those screens? If you have some ideas, let me know.

 

Thanks for playing!

Edited by cmadruga

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On 9/5/2020 at 11:33 PM, cmadruga said:

Meanwhile, our hero encounters a new type of enemy... better to stay out of sight.

 

infiltrator_gif2.gif.43b760b4fb5806fc7cf172276217e320.gif

 

 

 

 

 

This is next level s#!+

 

I had no idea you guys were doing things like this here.

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