The Last Faun is our student project, one which met our goals for study and was never really meant to be released to the outside world. Post education, our Diplomas in hand, we fixed a few elements of the game improving areas of control, design and art with the hope that we could eventually (maybe) submit the project into this year's IGF student category.
Submitting the game to Indie DB however has brought about some great player feedback information we hadn't anticipated during the production of TLF. The nature of the course was focused around creating a well-rounded and semi-polished project in order to meet grades, so play testing and overall playability was something that wasn't a key factor in our work method; given that we hadn't the resources to test large scale.
Player feedback was the biggest roadblock during production of TLF and small changes were preemptively designed in order to work around this. Colour coordinated HUD icons, simple and straight forward symbols, automatic jump (to suit the dynamic camera angle) as well as the "mouse gestures" which acted as a simple straight forward control method for the 2nd character, the Faun, giving the possibility for the dual control of two on screen characters; a core theme for the project.
Since the initial upload of TLF we have redesigned the way the gesture control system works, adding a greater margin for error, a more straightforward method for detecting the desired direction the player wishes to motion as well as a shortened timer between actions. Players would become frustrated when the gestures were failed and due to the longer timer between gestures, didn't realize the timer between actions restricted them from retrying. This often inhibited further attempts and made the gameplay feel clumsy and clustered. This is an issue we wanted to address early on since the dual gameplay between the kid and the faun was thematically the main focal point of the game and its overall point; to induce emotional connection between the player and the faun through game mechanics.
Additionally, the "tutorial" level of the game whilst simple and straight forward, allowing players to learn each mechanics systematically, did not do a very good job of explaining the input method to complete the faun mouse gestures. As a quick fix, we have added tutorial pop-ups in the game's opening level, explaining exactly how the faun is controlled and commanded. During the design process we wrote out and indication of HUD or on screen text tutorials, favoring a more context and environment based learning process. Due to time constraints and scope of the project however, this feature was left bare bones and never really came into full fruition.
Lastly, a few technical changes have been made. Vsync issues to do with the mouse curser have been adressed, creating a more fluid and solid gameplay experience. Lag should virtually be non-existent where previously the game would stutter and freeze during areas of high polygons or animations.
Overall, we hope the game is much more fun to play, with the newer explanation of the control scheme and its refined ease of use. Thanks again for the support; any additional feedback will help infinitely in the run up to our IGF submission in October.
This project started small and has gotten larger and larger by the day, thanks for checking it out!