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Print at Dec 5, 2020 6:05:20 PM

Posted by actreal at Aug 2, 2007 6:29:20 AM
Re: Logical Crafting: Mackerel contestant feedback thread
My feedback on Mackerel:

1. The quickstart wasn't particularly helpful. It has a lot of bubbles which explain the basic buttons but none really explain how to score points. I learnt better by watching what happened to my score when I did various activities.
The quickstart could be improved by mentioning when the game ends.

2. With the scoring and comments visible it was easy to learn to play - I was scoring decently after 2 or 3 games.

3. It's in the middle on addiction factor. Once I got the hang of it, I wanted to have a few consecutive goes at it, but after that I could pull myself away to write up some comments. :)

The proposed new version where you can play more than one board before going back to the menu will assist the addiction factor.

4. The game is quite fun, and holds my attention as well as any of the current crafting puzzles.

5. The analogy is quite good for weaving (see additional comments for suggested improvement).

6. It took me about 5 minutes to play a game, shorter on the lower levels where fewer patterns/rows are required to finish. The higher levels were about the ideal length for a game.
I would like to see a standard length of game for all levels, like in Shipwrightery, probably at the length of the higher levels. It's important for strategy to know how many moves you have left.

7. My favourite difficulty settings were Level 3 or 4, using 4 colors and maximum length 12.

8. My favourite part of the game is planning the size of loom and splices to get bigger combos.

9. Three colors didn't make it noticeably easier while I was playing, but I scored much better at the end, thanks to patterns being easier to make, due to more spools of the pattern colours to choose from.

10. Greater length of threads made it more difficult, particularly on higher levels where you constantly had to cut down long threads to gain alternating colours.
I found maximum thread length of 17 very frustrating as you got many spools at the maximum 17 and very few at more convenient lengths like 12, 15 or 16.
Perhaps a normal (or similar shaped) distribution of spool length would be good, where you get many at relatively useful middle lengths and fewer at the maximum lengths, but this might sacrifice too much difficulty.

11. On the default settings, I found I often had more beads than I had spools that I wanted to join, although not always in the right colours. Perfect rows were not hard at the default settings, although changing the maximum thread length can make them very difficult.
I found the terminology "bead" quite confusing until I read the instructions several times to work out what they were for. Perhaps "splicer" would be a more clear descriptor.

12. I changed the length of the loom at the start of each game, depending on the first pattern and my initial spool selection. Many games I didn't change it as multiples of 5 are easier to calculate in my head.
It was rare for me to change it mid-game.
I liked this option as it gave me a chance to use skill to compensate for the random spool lengths.
I never used the maximum size loom as on the default setting you don't get 14 length spools, and adding to 14 in my head is harder than adding to 12 or 10. :)

13. My strategy was to complete the patterns with the correct colours, while aiming for perfect row combos. I initially aimed for a few perfect rows for beads, which make filling patterns with perfect rows easier. If I didn't have the right colours for even a zebra, I would make perfect rows of the wrong colours and clear with the scissors until I had enough spools of the right colours.
Good strategy on the lower levels involves at the end of the game, setting up an additional pattern above the current pattern to maximise scoring, much like setting up a Bingo+ for the last move of Shipwrightery.

14. I don't think my strategy for Incredibles on levels 3 and 4 could be coded - it's fairly haphazard. I'm not a coder though.
I would say the difficulty of an Incredible needs to increase to be consistent with a YPP distribution of duty reports. This would increase the necessity for board farming for an Incredible, which may not be ideal for a prototype.
If I board farmed, I would be looking for a group of spools that corresponded to the same loom width (i.e. multiples of 5, 6 or 7).

15 & 16. I didn't play Pickerel and I didn't find any bugs, although the lag on mouse clicking was frustrating.

17. Additional Comments:

I found the scissors very difficult to aim. I was constantly not cutting any threads or worse, cutting too many.

There are too many different mechanics in this game for my liking, but each mechanic is separate and there is no time limit so I didn't have the confusion that I had switching mechanics in Loosejaw and Guppy.

The analogy is very good, but perhaps the scissors can be replaced by something that pushes the completed threads downwards off screen. This would make the analogy better and if it recognised the completed pattern contained in the threads to be pushed down as well, then you?d be able to get rid of the scissors and the dragging the pattern across the loom. I am always in favour of reducing the different types of clicking and dragging required in a single game.
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