Flow bugs, NPCs


Types of Bugs

You can divide bugs into at least two categories, when you do playtesting:

  • Bona-fide bugs. This is when an action does not work, the player discovers something you didn't forsee and it breaks things, or the game crashes/freezes/etc.
  • Flow bugs. This is where the player could, and would do something either eventually or if they had some crucial insight or understanding, but that insight isn't forthcoming.

I've fixed most, not all, of the bona-bugs that came up during playtesting with Kevin. I've made a few modifications to the gameplay world to address some flow bugs, for instance blocking off a whole section of the overworld that he spent a lot of time wandering around in, and putting another staircase so the upper floor of the castle is more obvious/accessible.

To fix more of the flow bugs, I need to rewrite the dialog, so that's my next project.

Focus

Mozart once said, when some rich dude said that his music had "a lot of notes", that there were "exactly as many as were necessary, and not one more."

The biggest flow problem in Texas right now seems to be focus. There are too many possible actions for the player to do, so that what they really need to do is lost in the noise.

For instance, there is a spellbook in the game with five spells. At least some of these are obviously just for humour; only one of them is absolutely required. Some others I have planned to be functional later on in the game but do nothing now.

Giving the player these five spells at point in the game is really confusing. When you've got a hammer, you're going to look for a nail.

Too many NPCs and too much Dialogue

Another for instance, there are way too many NPCs in the first part of the game: 7 to be exact. It's just not even close to necessary, even with respect to the roles or sidequests they might play in later on in the game. So I'll cut it down to 4, which is still plenty.

It also doesn't fit with the story. It's more believable that a seldom-visited tourist exhibit would have 4 full time employees, rather than 7.

The NPCs also have too much dialogue. This will be cut down vastly.

Here's hoping this will result in a much better flow for my next victim!

2009-09-13


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