As I said it’s a beta, so it’s pretty bare bones at the moment. We haven’t put any story in it yet, with the exception of a couple of simple tasks to test the interface. Our plan (at the moment) is to add content like that later, since the interface and back end are incomplete. We’re undecided as to how much of a storyline there should be - we want it to be as open as possible so people can do what they like. That freedom is one of the things we’re trying to take from some of the text-based rpgs we have played in the past.
Most of the other feedback we’ve had for the side-scrolling has been good (and we’ve solved the few concerns people did raise about them), since it makes the world more interactive than what you see on most similar games. Hotspot hunting is definitely something we need to address though - we plan to add some visual indicators to the backgrounds that signify the different actions in the area, we just haven’t had the time to get around to it yet.
Funny that you’d say that about the avatars - I can see where you’re coming from, but the alpha testers much preferred them to more generic ones, since it linked the game to films they loved. I’m not sure whether to be flattered that you’d think those are simply altered photos - they’re digital paintings (based on reference photos of course, but that’s pretty irrelevant). As a design professional plagiarism is one of my pet peeves, we’d never stoop that low.
Interesting that the minigames didn’t work for you, we’ve tested them on a couple of different laptops as well as desktops and they’ve been fine. The exception is the target practice minigame, which is pretty impossible at the moment on a trackpad - we’ll be adding an option to change the speed so it’s slower to combat that. Was that the bit you were having problems with, or was there something else going wrong with the other section? In either case, d’you think slowing down the target would help you in that section?
That’s a fair point about the combat screen. Most of the people who have tested it for us are friends who used to play a game that had a similar interface and as a result it feels natural to them, so your viewpoint is very useful there. The next thing we’ll add to the game is a quick guide (like the intro one) that briefly explains it when you first try to enter a battle. The smaller avatars are people in nearby areas, and you can target them with your distance weapon. Each location has several sub-areas. You can attack people in the same sub-area as you with your main weapon, and anyone in any of the sub-areas with your distance weapon. To shoot at them you just click on their avatar (closer to the center means a greater chance of hitting). To run away/move between sub-areas, you click the red “Nearby” button in the top left of the screen, and then choose which location you want to travel to. In terms of strategy it’s just select your target and fight. We’ve got a few ideas that would add a layer of strategy to it, but they’ll be linked to the story, and haven’t been fleshed out much yet.
So yeah, there isn’t anything to aim at beyond levelling at the moment, which would be rectified when we get to the point of adding a few different quest/mission storylines to follow.
Thanks for the feedback, it’s been great to get a different perspective. You’ve highlighted a couple of issues that we hadn’t really considered, as well as a couple that we were planning to address. I think in particular we might make the stories a higher priority, and add some more interface explanation asap.