Feedback on "Early Gameplay Walkthrough (Pre-Alpha)" video

Golden Xan

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Mar 30, 2019
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Hi there,

I'm reposting a comment I made on Apocalypse Studios Inc.'s YouTube channel here so that it can gain more reach and so we can have a discussion. I'm picking Deadhaus Sonata to be the next game I'll be accompanying until release. It looks very promising, it has a lot of potential, and I want to help in whatever way I can.


My comment on the video:

"Ok, this does not look bad at all. For an online F2P experience, this game has enough quality simplicity that many people can play with varied hardware configurations without looking bad or restricting players. Abilities are interesting and the excitement is going to depend on the thrill of the fighting experience.

Speaking of the fighting experience, since you're making a somewhat simplistic combo mechanic I advise making one attack flow to the next one as if it was a natural next step in a chain without interruptions or finishers. That lateral spinning the vampire makes with his third left-attack looks like a finisher and breaks the pace of the fighting because it takes a bit too long to end and has a longer recovery period. If you want to make a similar finisher in a simple combo, make it a stronger-looking version of a regular attack with some flare and sound cues to it, but also similar enough that it can chain to the first attack in the combo without making it look like it's starting the combo from scratch. That way you can use the regular attack ad infinitum with much more flow.

This will also make intercalating other powers and combos into a chain more simple because you can easily flow back into the next strike of a chain without breaking its flow.

The movement in the game looks a bit stiff, which is to be expected from a pre-alpha build, but I'd like to give you a couple of tips for making it better in the future. Add very small levels of momentum and acceleration to the character movement in the vectors to make them feel less like toys. This gives the player the sensation that their character is a part of the world, and not just floating on it. You can take it a step further and also add leg movement and feet repositioning as characters rotate left and right when standing still. Take it to the next level by creating separate fitting animations for every movement state (W press, W and A press, W and D press with camera rotation, and so on). All of this is doable in the game without having to create something extraordinary such as a physics-based gravity and force system.

Get inspiration from games such as Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within to see how combat chains can be potentially formed without breaking the flow and how to use the environment in your attacks (I see the potential in Deadhaus).

That's all I have to say for now on this trailer. I'm very much looking forward to Deadhaus and wish I could invest in your Immortal Legacy pack to help you out. :)
For now, this is the way I can help the most, with my feedback.

Good luck there, guys!"

What did you think of the video? Would you like to add anything?
 
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derula

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Feb 21, 2018
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Regarding combos/finishers, I wonder if there's a way to disable finishers or for the players to only trigger them if they really want them.

I read something about that it could be problematic if you design your game "esports-first," which seems to me what the smooth combo thing would be most important for. Of course, smooth combos can also make regular play more streamlined, but maybe this wasn't a core concern. Just theorizing... I don't know what Apocalypse's actual reasoning is.

Thanks for sharing your feedback here!
 
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Golden Xan

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Ah, I was not thinking about eSports at all when I mentioned it. The focus is mostly on making the fighting experience something enjoyable, because I believe that at least half the game (if not more) will be focused on fights and, as such, it needs to be something that doesn't get stale or repetitive.

There needs to be a mixture of flow, skill-based challenge, freedom, and room for mastery for it to be an enjoyable mechanic. It is a fine balance and I wanted to give some perspectives over how it might be accomplished. :)
 

Denis Dyack

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Hi @Golden Xan,

First, thank you for the thoughtful post. I was preparing to answer it on the YouTube channel but needed time as it was so detailed. So I will explain it here and link it on YouTube.

To preface everything: this build is from a few months of work, and we are showing early to get feedback as soon as possible. There are many "rough things" and in fact, most if not everything will be replaced over the course of development. We are showing the game with the hopes of getting as much feedback as possible, so your comments and feedback are much appreciated - thank you!

Simplistic vs Complex Combat System:
We have made a conscious decision to stay with a more simple combat combo system for the following reasons:
  • Co-Op Play - In single play, complex combat systems are fun to explore, but they tend not to scale well with cooperative environments. With six players, having each play execute a combo finisher at all require significant coordination and even the most straightforward moves can be challenging to achieve with other players online. The steep learning curve of League of Legends exemplifies this.
  • 3rd Person Combat merged with ARPG (ie. Bloodborne meets Diablo styles) - These two genres are fantastic and straight forward in their own right, but when combined will yield subtle complexities that are not apparent from the initial design. In this regard, Too Human is an invaluable learning experience. With Too Human, I went with a very detailed combat/combo system similar in detail to something like Devil May Cry with an ARPG. This approach yielded the following results:
    • Gamers who spent time on the system to learn everything came to love the unique system it offered but many gamers missed Too Humans unique synergy (too many gamers in my opinion), and this is likely a fault in the design or at least in the tutorials (or lack thereof).
      • Many gamers understood the basics of the combat system but were playing with completely destroyed armour and dying all of the time because of it and did not understand the loot roguelike aspects of the game well.
      • On the other hand, other gamers understood the ARPG elements of the game but failed to ever execute any combos of any significance and were crushed on the 2nd level of the game because of this and walked away frustrated
    • Having played four player co-op in Too Human and of course a great deal of 2 player co-op, the combo system lent itself to each player executing combos alongside each other but not together because the combos were to complex, detailed and fast combining verticality with dexterity. We plan to fix this core in Deadhaus Sonata. We want to achieve awesome cooperative combos
    • PVP - you mention later in the post is another issue. Precision and accuracy are necessary for PVP, and although we are not launching with PVP it is planned, and we want to make sure we have a solid foundational base to build upon and do not want to redo the entire combat system to add PVP. This would be upsetting for us and likely the community.
We agree that combat and animations are "stiff" and these will be polished or completely replaced as the development continues. Our goal with the release of the footage was to show gamers what we have planned, and as the game is being shown in a very early stage, things like this are unavoidable.

Another lesson learned from previous efforts is not to roll all the details out at once. One thing we have not announced but will in the future, is that play area you see here is procedurally generated, and we will roll out the details of this is in the future - i.e. it is for much more then replayability.

Thank you for the support and kind word! I hope this has helped answer your main questions and we look forward to discussing more of the game in the future! :)
 
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Calypso

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Mar 28, 2019
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Thanks for the details Dennis.

Basically answered my questions also.

My only feedback I suppose at this time is that keep up the good work.
Balancing I’m sure will come but the glass canon structure of the vampire seems great.
My only gripe is that the humans die too quickly? One cut and I can drink blood and they are dead.
I’m sure this is designed to work against large amounts of enemies and for demo purposes is cool
But in the back of mind I can see myself getting bored being a powerhouse all the time
Again I know it’s just early footage and to show off skills (very awesome) so dang take these to heart that much.

Just keep killing it!
 
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Denis Dyack

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Thanks for the details Dennis.

Basically answered my questions also.

My only feedback I suppose at this time is that keep up the good work.
Balancing I’m sure will come but the glass canon structure of the vampire seems great.
My only gripe is that the humans die too quickly? One cut and I can drink blood and they are dead.
I’m sure this is designed to work against large amounts of enemies and for demo purposes is cool
But in the back of mind I can see myself getting bored being a powerhouse all the time
Again I know it’s just early footage and to show off skills (very awesome) so dang take these to heart that much.

Just keep killing it!
Great - I was just about to respond. Thanks for the kind words of support! We really have not done any balancing for hit points on enemies, damages, etc.. As well, we need to roll out, horde play, bosses and mini-bosses to shake things up a bit. :) Lots more coming! :)
 
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Golden Xan

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How amazing to get a reply directly from you. :)
I'm glad you enjoyed my feedback and I hope to continue being useful as you release more material for the community.

It sounds like you people know what you are doing, and that's great to hear. If this is only a few months of work, this is great progress.

I agree that a simplistic combo mechanic is better in cooperative experiences. Simple mechanics can be very rewarding as well, as long as properly executed.
I recognize it isn't the same, but Nosgoth is was a game with asymmetric gameplay that had a very simplistic melee combo mechanic that worked wonders with PVP and it's going to be difficult not to compare Deadhaus with it. From the looks of the gameplay trailer, you are going for something more complex. Which is absolutely fine.

I will wait to see more of the direction Apocalypse is taking the game before making any comments on combat. Since you seem to plan on releasing more early footage throughout the development, I take it we'll have quite the opportunity to get hyped for the game in the following months/year. :D
 
Mar 31, 2019
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Ah, I was not thinking about eSports at all when I mentioned it. The focus is mostly on making the fighting experience something enjoyable, because I believe that at least half the game (if not more) will be focused on fights and, as such, it needs to be something that doesn't get stale or repetitive.

There needs to be a mixture of flow, skill-based challenge, freedom, and room for mastery for it to be an enjoyable mechanic. It is a fine balance and I wanted to give some perspectives over how it might be accomplished. :)
I think esports could work with a future PVP mode. Since that could be competitive monsters vs monsters, or humans vs monsters.
EDIT: Maybe there could also be a mode where you fight a class to control an area of the map.
 
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Livin

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I've enjoyed everything I've seen and heared so far. The only question I have is when will we learn more about the six other classes so I can start deciding which I want to play, but I can wait on that. Keep it up.
 

Iain Stenhouse

Producer
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Jul 24, 2018
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I've enjoyed everything I've seen and heared so far. The only question I have is when will we learn more about the six other classes so I can start deciding which I want to play, but I can wait on that. Keep it up.
We will be sharing more information about all seven classes continuously over the next little while! Until those times come, feel free to check out our Trinary Archetype System Diagram near the bottom of our Deadhaus Sonata page . This should give you a good hint at where the playable classes are going to be regarding certain things!