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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Suggestions to improve a #WP7 game

Suggestions to improve a WP7 game

On Twitter, @mechaghost asked for feedback on the beta version of a WP7 game they are creating.

An example of the game was posted on YouTube. Here it is:



I had a few thoughts, questions and suggestions, so continuing my current practice of providing feedback on Windows Phone 7 applications and games, here, in the hope that it will be useful/helpful to @mechaghost and others also, is my feedback:

  • Although it's not shown I wonder about how the game is explained/taught/demonstrated to the user the first time they play it. Are there instructions, a demo, a walkthrough? Nothing is shown so I assume there isn't any. There should be something.
  • The sound made by touching on a car doesn't seem appropriate to the action. (Someone also added this as a comment on YouTube.)
  • Will you have multiple/different levels?
  • If so, how will you differentiate different levels?
    • Will there be multiple different scenes/backgrounds?
    • Will there be a way to start with the vehicles already in greater frequency/speed? i.e. Do you always have to start over from the beginning? While the speed that game play increases seems appropriate to first time players I suspect it may get frustratingly slow after multiple plays.
    • Have you thought about ways to alter/enhance game play? Here are a few quick suggestions:
    • Vehicles whose speed can't be changed?
    • "Ghost vehicles" who can pass through others without crashing?
    • Other obstacles on the road? e.g. people crossing-who also must be avoided.
    • "Drive over bonuses" - items that appear on the road briefly and which if driven over award points bonuses or trigger brief periods of some other functionality. (Maybe from this list.)
    • The ability for vehicles to turn at a junction? Indicators on the vehicle could indicate this intent. This would require a greater level of player observation and planning where vehicles are headed and how to react accordingly.
    • Could you add traffic lights which, temporarily, stop traffic from a certain direction? Obviously these would only operate occasionaly or else would defeat the precept of the game. Maybe they could come on as a form of temporary bonus?
    • Add a night time mode - where you can just see vehicle headlights and a small area around street lamps? If a game goes on for a very long time this could be enabled automatically. Or this could be set based on the local time of the person playing the game. i.e. The game goes in to night time mode if it is night time where I (as player) actually am.
    • Could you add a help/basic mode which includes an indicator of where the next vehicle will enter the screen? This may help beginners.
    • This is purely speculative but when thinking about getting further in to the game, and there are more vehicles moving around, I would imagine there would be times when I'd also want to slow a vehicle down. Have you thought about this? I would expect such to require careful testing but could be worth considering/investigating. Obviously adding an appropriate gesture for this isn't immediately obvious. How about swiping backwards (against the direction of movement) of the vehicle in question. This could still leave a standard tap to speed a vehicle up. THIS WOULD REQUIRE CAREFUL USER TESTING!
      If this was successful you could also consider tap and hold to completely stop a vehicle. (Releasing the hold would start the vehicle again.) Stopped cars would need to be careful of being hit from behind!

Please note that the above is just based on watching the video (twice). I could/would provide a more detailed review/feedback if able to actually use the game and spend more time with it.

I hope this is useful. Let me know in the comments, or on twitter.

If you would like my feedback for a game or application that you have developed or are still developing, please get in touch.

Update: I've had a great response to my offer and so cannot accept any more apps to review just now. Sorry. Maybe I'll accept more in the future.

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.

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