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CGDC4: Roped!


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Roped!Flash Game Design CompetitionThe next entry is from Damir Srpèiè of Slovenia. You might remember Damir from our very first competition with his popular and creative entry, Personal Universe.

Roped! implements "ball physics" as well as 'rope physics' in this unique puzzle game that also includes an integrated level editor and save feature. As usual, please provide your feedback and constructive criticism for Damir in the comments.

Play Roped

Game link: http://jayisgames.com/cgdc4/?gameID=5

44 Comments

Interesting game. The use of physics is excellent with the rope physics too and the challenge of some of the levels can be pretty fun.

I did think the game suffered a bit from being over complex in its appearance though. It took me a while to figure out, and it just seemed to feel more like a physics simulation interface than a game UI. Also the reset level button didn't seem to work.

Despite that, I did enjoy playing through quite a few levels, some seemed a lot more difficult than others, but I guess a lot of it is down to luck in a game like this.

Overall, good game, great physics, just needs to be a bit more user friendly I think.

Ali

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Steven Johnson Author Profile Page October 3, 2007 11:15 AM

This is a enjoyable game for a bit. I have three comments:
1. It moved a bit slowly.
2. I did not like having to scroll around.
3. It was not challenging enough. I admit that I didn't finish, but I got far enough in that I "got" the concept, but after several levels of no new challenges I quit.

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Interesting, but complicated. I think I had to use the help button like three or four times. It's very well done, I mean I haven't found bugs, but it's just so complicated.

I'm wondering if the instructions were more concise and on the play screen so the player doesn't have to go back and forth trying to figure out how to play it.

I have this problem too, even with obvious games. I watch people testing my games and for the most part, no one reads directions. They want to get playing as quick as possible.

jorge

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looks pretty cool, although reminescent of armadillorun (similar concepts but very different gameplay), and looks fun :)

I also like the toy at the menu screen.

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Cool physics and I love the idea of ropes, but this could use a lot of interface-work.

Things that I would like to see improved:
The balls move like molasses. Uphill. In January. If the game ran a fair bit faster (like 200% or more faster) this would be a way funner game to play.

I couldn't figure out how to re-enter edit mode. I tought it was 'reset' not 'edit'

Buttons, when disabled, simply don't work. Some more visual way of showing this would be really nice.

You can create new ropes under the menu by clicking on dots under it. You cannot however, select or edit them.

once you've 'tried it out' you cannot zoom back out to see more of the map. This makes it hard to see and create some lines.

once you complete a level, it'd be nice to have a button to go to the next level.

The options menu, it does nothing for me. All the buttons seem disabled.

I simply didn't find the help menu until my third time in the main menu. Also, there's no help for the level editor, which would be nice. Perhaps some tutorial text in the first few levels for people who want to jump right in, like me.

Wow, that's a lot of things. Despite what it looks like, I still fairly like this game, it just needs a bit of spit and polish. Good work!

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Another few comments:

Adjusting the rope length was rather unintuitive, even with instructions. Mostly because you can't adjust the tension, too. If you could, it'd be nicer.

Some of the rope-points are really hard to see, being on the white line. A little irritating, and could use some black outlines to make them stand out.

Most of the levels could benifit from more rope points; because once you get to about level 6, all you have to do is follow the rope-point path, because there's nowhere else to go.

Lastly for now, the rope tension value and the visible tension on the rope didn't have too much of a relation that I could see. I know there's some logic behind it, but a little more visual feedback there would be nice.

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I agree on the nodes bieng hard to see, for example on the babylon level, the nodes are the same color as the outline.

This game has a good concept going, just needs to be built upon.

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mindstalker October 3, 2007 11:44 AM

I don't know if I'm just stupid or what Daemonicus level seemed impossible... :(

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It seems the trick is to slowly adjust the rope length... if you make it too short, the tension gets too high (as indicated by the tension meter) and breaks. So I don't think the tension meter is meant to be controllable, but instead a way to know when to stop shortening the rope.

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There's always the chance that I'm an undiscovered scintillating genius... but I don't think that's the case.

You guys are making this waaaaay too complicated. This is the most intuitive and best game so far in this competition.

I read the Help contents before trying anything with the game. Why wouldn't you?!?!? I didn't understand them all right away but once I started playing the game it all made sense.

You adjust the tension of the rope by adjusting the length of it. How else would you do it in real life? change the rope's molecular structure???

The buttons on the Settings screen work - there's just no indication that they have worked. An opportunity for enhancement here. Make them flash or something so we know we've clicked 'em.

Another item that could be improved is the appearance of the rope points. Some of those little green dots ARE awful dang hard to find. Adding more red herrings would make gameplay more interesting as well.

I especially like the way you have to sometimes use the ropes in counter-intuitive ways.

Such as putting a super-tight one designed to break when the ball hits it - but enough to slow it down so it goes where you want it.

I have to pull myself away from this one - I need to get to work!

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Interesting and very creative use of the concept. Very addicting and enjoyable (though sometimes extremely frustrating) play! Other than the Reset button not working I also wish it would play full screen (or larger) eliminating the need to scroll around the playing field.

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I think the game is acutally totally intuitive to play, even without reading the instructions.
And the physics are really great, in my eyes the best so far!

Though, the gameplay could be a bit faster. And the levels are all really similiar, apart from 1 or 2 it's always totally obivous which dots need to be connected...different kinds of obstacles would help this game A LOT.

Oh, and the Reset button works, you just need to be in Edit-Mode.

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I like this game. It is a bit slow but it's challenging. Does the on-screen text after each level hint at something? I haven't gotten very far. Also, I can't beat

Daemonicus

Any help? Thanks!

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Ahh, nevermind, I got it.

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I enjoyed this game, I think the combinations of the ball physics and the ropes was very clever. Not being able to see the whole level at once was very frustrating. I also think that once you've got the concept down, the game becomes very easy, due to the rope points. They lead you right to the goal. A little more challenge would be nice. I'll come back and play this one again.

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This game doesn't live up to it's potential... yet.

As some have stated before the ball movement is too slow. An option for speeding things up would be a tremendous help. Sometimes you want it to go slow so you can see where you're going wrong, but most of the time you're just waiting for the dang ball to get to where your system broke down on the previous run.

A larger screen area would be better but of course being restricted by the competition here I think they've worked around that pretty well.

The main problem with this game is it's built for toddlers. Every level is just a matter of connecting the dots they've practically spoon-fed you and watching the ball do it's thing. A few easy levels at the beginning hooks you, easy levels throughout bores you. There is TREMENDOUS opportunity for growth with this game. More creativity and even deviousness is called for. What about the broken ropes? How about using the broken ends as slow-down spots as the ball rolls on down the maze? How about making "obvious" connections not work and you have to connect from somewhere across the screen? Why not introduce some new factors and elements? See-saws or paddle wheels or... ?

The user contributed levels will no doubt add some fantastic ingenuity to this game.

I really REALLY like this entry and I hope they work on it some more and release an updated version.

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I like the rope dynamics, they have a really authentic feel.

I lacked the stamina to complete all the levels, but it was fun as far as I reached (before the lure of the level editor became too tempting). Difficulty curve maybe slightly too shallow for my tastes, but I imagine every player will have different views on that.

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An interesting idea for sure, but a couple issues disappointed. First (and it could be a language issue) I didn't realize edit meant reset (until I read the rules) and so was a bit confused there. Next, the game seemed to take forever, which was again unfortunate when you're waiting to see what you need to fix. The broken rope idea seemed unnecessary as it just made you reattach another rope and go at it again; it was more of an annoyance than anything else. However, the idea is sound and could have been quite excellent.

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I do like this game but like the others there are some areas that need improving.

1. As already said, a way to speed up the ball to make the game go faster or get to the part where you failed last time would be nice

2. another one that has been already stated, for the most part the levels were too linear, you knew exactly what had to be done and there was no need (or for the most part no way) to deviate from the 'right' path.

3. I'm only a player and not a developer but I agree with what one developer said before is that I rarely look at instructions on my first go, I just try it so maybe making the rope length into an obvious slider instead of looking the exact same as the tension bar might help the interface a bit.

Overall I enjoyed it greatly and I believe the user levels are were roped is really going to shine so I look forward to that.

Nice game

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I just wanted to say that I really like this game. I'm not a big fan of ball physics games in general, but this one made me think, and wasn't extremely difficult to figure out. The physics are cool, and I like the adjustments for changing how a ball bounces with the length, and subsequently the tension, of each rope. Great Job!

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I really don't understand the issues some of you are having with the game's control scheme being too complex. It just took me a few seconds to figure out why I couldn't adjust the rope's tension (because that's directly related to the length of the rope), and that was it. I do agree that the interface is a bit rough, but the gameplay is there. Then again, this is coming from somebody who, for whatever reason, has no idea how to complete "Nothing Important Happened Today II." I've tried everything. I think.

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ben, i agree.. i can beat every level (except for one other one), but not nothing important pt 2

i am really impressed with the rope physics though,... that is quite hard to do!

I might suggest that you can adjust the tension slider, and when you do that, the length of the rope changes. For that is really the important slider, and not being able to access it directly does nothing but confuse the game. By only allowing people to adjust the length slider, you are just making it harder for people to access the controls.
but overall i am quite impressed!!!

thanks Damir!!!

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Kellyhalia October 3, 2007 6:34 PM

Something that's probably just a personal preference - when the ball starts going, have the stage stay in the same place rather than the ball.

Really awesome game idea :-)

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This game is really fun but soooo sloooww. :/

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I definitely like this game. I don't think it's overly complicated; actually, it's largely intuitive, though I guess it might be best not to have the "rope length" and "rope stress" things look the same when one is adjustable and the other is merely an indicator. Also, it's really quite slow. Perhaps it would be best to take the strength of gravity up closer to something you'd find on Earth. I felt like the game was set on Pluto or something. And it would be nice to be able to zoom out instead of just scrolling around. But, yeah. Fun.
It might be cool to have some sort of challenge that has limited amounts of rope or something too. I'm not sure how that would work, though.

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need some help on:
release,
and
jump the shark

ty

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Dr. Pepsi October 3, 2007 10:16 PM

Great concept, but this game needs to be cleaned up. The menu screen on the left gets in the way. Also, way too slow and laggy. You really need to fine tune this, the game is sloppy IMHO.

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My main problem with it is that the only way to scroll is with the arrow keys. It'd be great if we could scroll by simply grabbing the background (maybe with a modifier key so as to prevent scrolling accidentally).

Also, the user-level browser doesn't work for me, so I'm left to the built-in levels.

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Any hints on the Olympia level?

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This game would have kept me interested if it weren't for the confusing navigation and controls. I also didn't like that the focus of the screen moved to follow the ball - I would have preferred to have seen the whole play area as the ball moved. A good try though

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Am I just an idiot? I can't even get the ropes to tie. I click on a green node and drag rope to another green node and NOTHING. I really would like to play the game but just can't figure out how to make it work.

Oh well...

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Lard Bucket October 4, 2007 12:03 PM

i can go to a level but it just showes a picture with a ball and some green dots. when i drag the rope to another green dot nothing happenes

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It won't load for me (the game loading bar is stuck at 0%).

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donut - try reloading? If that doesn't work, try emptying your browser cache and try again?

There doesn't appear to be any problems with any of the files, so I'm guessing it's something local to you.

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s_glasgow October 4, 2007 9:32 PM

this is a great idea, that obviously due to time contraints couldn't be developed to it's fullest potential. please pursue this idea for a further, more polished release. Some ideas would include; an editor (of course to make your own challanges) a zoom interface so we can see the whole puzzle at a glance, and maybe even a gravity type addition to add a new layer to the puzzles. also, a way to speed up the ball might be nice, although not nessary due to speed of descent being essential to the solving of some of the puzzles.

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I had the same problem as DJ and Lard Bucket, so I stuck the URL into IE and it looked very different - and more importantly seemed to work. When I got there I was a bit disappointed though - I didn't like the background pictures, I didn't like the fact that you had to navigate around the screen - sometimes when the playing area was only slightly larger than the viewing area - I think it would have been better if it could have been scaled instead. The ropes annoyed me - in that they obviously knew how wide the gap was that they were trying to fill and yet sometimes they still started out ridiculously floppy - couldn't they all have started with a length that would give 80% tension.
Sorry I can't be more positive. Maybe these niggles fall into the category of tweaks and polish that the time constraints of the competition make difficult.
Peter

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This didn't work for me in Safari on a mac. The ball was rendered rather large and static in the center of the level. I had to switch to firefox to see what was going on..

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I did enjoy this game, but found it wasn't a challenge. There were only about three levels (literally) that I didn't solve in the first three goes. One level I completed without adding to it at all.
So yeah, I enjoyed it but there was no challenge to it. Next time I'd suggest spending less time on Wikiquote and more time thinking up me harder level designs!

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Help in Jump The Shark plz?

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nice game, brilliant use of physics but just way way toooooo complicated for me.

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Olympia:

I solved it by aiming the ball at a certain rope that broke.

Jump the Shark:

Ignore the obvious path.

there's only one rope that needs to be tied, and it's a long one. Think safety net.

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fairyhedgehog October 8, 2007 10:52 AM

I liked the concept and it would have been fun but I had one main problem. I could only see different parts of the playing area by running 'Try it out'. There was no way I could see to scroll around.

I also found it odd that I had to press 'Edit' to reset the level, but that was no biggie once I'd worked it out.

I'd really like to find out how to scroll because it was a good game. I liked the messages on completing a level!

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Scrool with your arrow keys.

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LatexChicken November 3, 2007 1:47 AM

I can't believe that I have the third challenge. It only requires two strings. Are you up to it? If you need help,

Only one side is proven to work

If you want the answer,

Put a string on the right dot on the ball and the one below the ball. Do not adjust the length. The other rope, use the bottom-left dots and increase the stress to 93%.

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