After having watched the video, I think I'm going to mostly hijack things other people have said to add my own comments.
3. When crossing by a crafting station, the game displays a message like "Unable to link to ____ due to lack of crafter". What does this mean? Is a "crafter" an object or a person? This may become obvious after playing for a while, but I think for the new player it will be a little confusing.
Hmm, yeah, this may need some wording work -- good point. You use the crafting stations themselves directly to do your crafting, but it requires the presence and aid of an NPC who has that crafting ability. If you yourself have the crafting ability then of course you don't need an NPC for that.
It's definitely confusing and overly wordy for something that's going to pop up in the middle of the screen every time you walk past the thing. All it really needs to do to convey its point is some sort of icon or single word that signifies the "use" action that people can recognize for all
things they can interact with, and give that an active and inactive state, and display that
when you walk past it. The less-confusingly-worded text (I'm sure the linking means something in context/in universe that we just aren't aware of without knowing the lore) can be a message displayed if you insist on interacting with it anyway.
It would be good to still have an easy way to tell what the various things (crafting stations/doors/etc.) are, because a "use"/"interact"/"[insert verb here]" icon or text bubble or whatever doesn't really specify, putting the full name like now is very
cluttered and space-consuming, and coming up with recognizable icons or other simple/small representations of all of the different types of things in the game can be both a lot of work on the development side (people who've never tried/had to do it before would be surprised how hard it is to do well) and a lot of memorization on the player side. Maybe having the "use" icon/prompt pop up over the object itself, and then the text itself in a standard location at the top/botton/corner of the screen, which has been used to good effect in similar games before.
I just really feel like covering the middle of the screen (which is the single most valuable piece of real estate, right where your character is) with large, constantly changing blobs of text as you run down a hallway full of doors while you're being attacked by enemies
is asking for trouble.
I'm interested in hearing whether anyone else experienced this same surprise at transitioning to new map areas, and if so whether some kind of small but obvious visual "you're about to exit this map" indicator could be added on the main map.
I did keep an eye out for this, because I read the entire thread before I got a chance to watch the video, and I have seen some games that do a pretty bad job of conveying where transitions are. From some of your other comments, I get the impression that you don't normally play a lot of games of this type, so I can understand where you're coming from if you're not really used to the feel of how they handle firsthand and are just watching. Chris' response/explanation is very true in my own experience. When the "camera"/point of view scrolls smoothly and continuously follows your movement everywhere you go, it tends to be pretty obvious when it suddenly stops
doing that. When you aren't the one controlling the character, e.g. when you're watching a video of someone else playing, you don't have that direct feedback, so you don't get that rather abrupt "oh hey, something's up!" sense by just watching (unless you've already developed it by playing games that use that mechanic for years, in which case screen transitions practically telegraph themselves to you no matter what, heh).
7. On the message "Press action key [to do whatever]", I would suggest that instead of saying "action key", that text should be the name of whatever key is mapped to the "action" event. It's good that you're telling players what they need to do; the problem is that it requires players to memorize one more thing on top of everything else when it's relatively simple to avoid that problem by simply telling them which key to press.
One nice enhancement would be to display the name of the key that the player currently has mapped to "action." Maybe the default is Tab, but I prefer to remap the "action" trigger to the middle mouse button. In that case, the nice message would be something like, "Press MMB to [whatever]."
Yeah, I thought about that, but decided against it for the simple fact that there are multiple confirm buttons, AND each one can have a mouse, gamepad, and keyboard binding. So it would literally be "Press T, Enter, or Gamepad Button 1 to blah blah blah" with the default bindings. With custom bindings it could also be talking about mouse bindings, etc, etc. If you notice right on the main menu there's a brief little default controls summary that is incredibly brief and simple. If you don't remember that T is a binding for this, you can always hit Enter. And if you don't remember any of that, you can pull up the keybindings screens from right in-game at any time (preferably during an invincibility period, or in a chunk without monsters, of course).
My initial urge was to do just what you were describing, but I discarded that for the reasons above, anyhow.
That would be nice, but if it's impractical, eh. Although some people just settle for displaying whatever the primary binding is, and that seems to work. You could set primary keyboard/mouse bindings, secondary ones, and gamepad ones, choose whether you're using keyboard+mouse or gamepad to play (without disabling the other), and then just display the either the primary kb+m or the gamepad binding for whatever action. Or instead of making people choose, display the gamepad bindings if they're pusing buttons on a gamepad and the keyboard ones if they're pushing keys. And then self-destruct if they do both at once just to confuse it to see what happens because they're me. Heh.
Oh, but more importantly, what came to mind while watching the video was that it would be nice to actually highlight the name of the key/action so it stands out from the rest of the text instead of blending in, whether it's a different color or [in brackets] or something, just so it's quickly recognizable as some sort of UI interaction.
9. From the video, I now understand the need to carry around wood bridges. I seem to remember though that I read here that characters could carry quite a few of these, but that they would need to restock periodically. What I wonder from a design perspective is: does needing to restock these add to the fun of the game?
It seems clear from the video that you basically have to have these bridges to progress through the game; you won't get far never going underground. If so, then requiring the player to monitor how many of these they have on hand adds two challenges -- the action of restocking, and the risk of getting stuck at the bottom with no bridges left -- but it's not clear that overcoming either of these challenges makes the game meaningfully more fun.
Certainly it's more "realistic" to require restocking of this item. On the other hand, a lot of things in AVWW are pretty clearly implemented for gameplay reasons regardless of any connection to realism. (That's not a criticism; simply a practical observation.) What I'm wondering is what you and the others here think of just letting characters have an infinite number of zero-encumbrance bridges. Is the loss of requiring the player to manage the current number of bridges stocked greater than the benefit of being able to focus more on fast-paced, movement-based gameplay?
This is something I've thought about a lot as well, and I'm really not sure. One thing you can do to completely nullify any need for bridges is to transmogrify yourself into a bat. The downside of that is your defensive values are then halved. I also have some future plans to include some NPCs with wings that can inherently fly, that you encounter very late in the game and can become if you wish.
It's kind of a two-master sort of thing, honestly. When it comes to the lava flats areas, I would say that the wood platforms as they are definitely add to the tense platforming nature of it. Since you have to wear a heat suit there, that also means that you can't be a bat or use your inherent wings, which fits.
On the other hand, there's this risk/reward with the wood platform based on crafting them versus something else when you're inside or on the surface, and I think there is some value in that. But we haven't playtested extensively enough to really be sure, there. I've been thinking about this very issue quite a bit, at any rate, and I'm not really sure what I want to do. One solution would be to have a form of grappling hook or similar that works in lieu of the wood platforms most of the time. Even just making the existing teleport spell available to players very early on in would solve this, in a different form.
So... yeah. The bulk of this game isn't meant to be a platformer or feel like one, but I guess what I'm trying to figure out is a way that makes inherent sense where we can maintain that in lava flats and make it not a hassle anywhere else. While still making spelunking nontrivial in other senses. I feel like I have that... maybe 60% figured out, based on the above. That last 40% really just needs more playtesting, which is going to be a focus between now and beta for sure.
I'm not entirely thrilled about the wooden platforms and never have been since they were first introduced. It's sort of funny that you seem to have come up with them independently from Terraria as a solution to the same problem (I assume, based on you not having played it, although it's suspiciously similar to what they did), but they're kind of annoying there, too. Really they just ended up being one of those things I tolerated there until I had a better way to get around, and I was more generous with my tolerance of stuff like that there because the game's more focused around building things. Once you have a bunch of them laid out, I guess it's sort of nice to have a reliable way in and out of an area, but it's not really a very satisfying method of transportation compared to all the other things that have been done over the years in different takes on the genre. Stop. Lay platform. Jump. Walk a bit. More platforms. Jump slightly higher. Stop. Plonk. Jump. Stop. Plonk...
10. This may just be me, but I found it extremely distracting when the information boxes would pop up over every single interactable object.
Very yes. See above.
It does look very slick, but i can't possibly be the first one to notice... that the voice over on that video is.. ehm .. too quiet when music plays (in fact - next voice please... completely mute music!).
The volume of the music sounded fine compared to the voice during the voiceover to me. However, the voiceover compared to the volume of the music during the entire rest of the video was very quiet. I had to keep turning the sound up and down every time it switched back and forth from the game music to the commentary...
That said, i would suggest adding a fancy little feature to remove a lot of visual clutter when running around - a sort of floating icons thing?
You see, right now we have labels for stairwells and doors, and stuff. Thats unneeded. What we could have instead is simply a noticeable icon glowing up somewhere that tells us "yes, this is a stairwell" or yes "this is a door" or yes you can interact with this (different symbol / color coding for each ) i do mean as GUI element, so optional hud stuff ;P
Yup. So I guess really I'm just agreeing with what's already been said on this particular subject.