I've been playing a lot of Ugly Baby lately because it really fascinates me. I've also been trying to nail down the bits that work for me, and the bits that I feel are missing. Unfortunately both seem to be really hard to define.
I thought, however, I might throw a few things out there in the hope that they'll help.Things I like
Different music gives even the same level a different feel. I've been playing with Chromeo
, Sonata Arctica
, Weird Al
, Living End
and Pink Floyd
. Whatever algorithms you're using seem to work well in shuffling and adapting the pieces around to make each play through different.
The various 'atmospheres' that are generated. Depending on the level, I've felt like:
- I'm flying through a TRON location
- I'm dong a controlled fall between futuristic skyscrapers and walkways.
- I'm doing the trench run in Star Wars.
- I'm flying through the Death Star infrastructure in Return of the Jedi.
- I'm flying through the music.
I love how the world starts out de-saturated, and as you keep 'chains' going it becomes more saturated. It would be nice to see more of that somehow - perhaps make it a bit more obvious?Play Modes
I'm wondering if Ugly Baby might not benefit from two or more different play modes. I find I'm playing the game two ways:
The first is really using the level to move with the music, to enhance it. For example with Icarus
from the Deus Ex
soundtrack, I find that swirling and swooping things makes the music even more ]motive.
With Us and Them
) I find slow, lazy movements just work well.
, sharp movements, almost trying to 'bounce' off things makes it all more fun.
On the other hand, I'm also playing it as a game. I try to buzz as much as I can, keep the percentages up, try not to hit things and get a high score.
So perhaps if you have a 'chill out'/'music' mode and a game/score mode you could get both in there without having to compromise either.More Interaction
I'd like to see more interaction with the world, though I'm probably going to be a bit hand-wavey about that. I mentioned above the idea of bouncing off things. That might be fun to try. Hitting things 'side on' might result in a bounce, rather than going straight through, whereas hitting them front on would leave things as they are.
I think I like the lack of shooting in this game, as it seems more about the environment and the music.
I'm wondering if there needs to be more reward from things like zooming through tight spaces, or keeping moving rather than (say) just hugging the one wall for a while.
It might also be nice to be forced to have to rotate more rather than it being almost purely optional.
Given that I've been feeling, depending on level, as though I'm falling or flying, I wonder if there's some way to deliberately try to enhance that. Perhaps add a bit of gravity in certain sections so there becomes a deliberate "down" (maybe a specific plane - in the geometric sense - to fly along?)?Things that aren't quite working for me
Sometimes, when I move with the 'flow' of the level I find that I end up on the outer 'ring' and spend a lot of time trying to find and get back to the hub. Perhaps there needs to be more gradation between parts of the level that are broad, and those that are narrow. It would also be nice to be able to have some idea where the hub is, as you can lose sight of it at times.
At other times, I find that there are huge gaps in the level, meaning you have no chance to keep your "chain" going.
The level with the stone-henge like arches is less fun for this reason. Perhaps the way that buzzing, chains or whatever works can be adapted depending on how a level is built? Allow longer time for the chain on less dense (or more mellow) levels, and perhaps a shorter time on high density levels?Things I definitely would like to see
Obviously I'm greedy and would like to see more shape types.
The levels where many of the blocks appear to be part of a graphic equaliser are good, and I'd love to see more of that. Really, having some levels where there's a lot more movement of the level in time to the music would be fantastic. Not all levels should have it, but it would be good to mix things up a bit.
Some kind of high-score table would be good. I am curious how the scoring changes depending on type of music, length of music and the like. I guess, ideally, you'd get less points for things on a long song or similar, since that meant you could have a chance of comparing how well you'd done.
I'd really like to see more explanation of how things work. I've worked out 'Buzz' (though sometimes the BUZZ indicators don't seem to point to anything). I have no idea about GROOVE. I'm not sure what the percentage means, or how to get the score mutiplier up.