• Introducing Dr Hiatus Lotus, Ph.D.

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    #34291

    Over the weekend, Justin posted a new game – this time for iOS only. Those of you with iPhones and iPads, download Dr Hiatus Lotus Ph.D. and I think y
    [See the full post at: Introducing Dr Hiatus Lotus, Ph.D.]

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    • #34292

      Looks like a variation on the Candy Crush theme.

    • #34293

      If I’m already seeing double from pills to begin with, has the game already won?

    • #34294

      HA!

      Keep on pushin’ those pills….

    • #34295

      The physics is quite different from Candy Crush – which is a simple slide-then-drop system.

    • #34296

      Hexagons fit nice on 2D, but where are the games with a 3D tetrahedron (four sided pyramid where each side is an equilateral triangle) grid?

      Will there be a version for Windows 7?

    • #34297

      Interesting idea! Equilateral pyramids… on HoloLens.

      I doubt that Justin’s games will ever appear on Win7. Porting them to UWP (Win10 only, probably without Win10 Mobile) has turned into a bear.

    • #34298

      Was pleasantly surprised that Justin personally got back to me when I brought a problem I was having with the Bees game to his attention. I really appreciate his timely response, which was,

      “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, now that im aware of this im going to fix it immediately and you should see an update within the next 48 hours (or less if apple will expedite the request).”

      I’ve learned a lot from Woody, and really appreciate the knowledge and time he spends helping me keep my Windows 7 going. I love reading and learning from all the people that contribute… and if playing an enjoyable game helps, I’m more than happy to share it with friends and family. I’ll be group B for sure. What a difference between the responsiveness in this forum, and having the need for a non-telemetry ridden operating system being completely ignored by Microsoft.

      Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

    • #34299

      Justin’s a good guy. Even if I’m a bit biased. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #34300

      As I skimmed down the comments, I started to squint because an eyelash had just fallen into one of my eyes, and I read your post as “even if I’m a bit” *blessed* instead of “biased”.

      But I think that word works, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #34301

      I don’t play games, install optional apps, or have Apple, but I’m just wondering what the “story” is of the game and why it’s named “Dr. Hiatus Lotus”.

      From the image provided, it looks like a mad-scientist beekeeper in poor health has spilled his weekly pill container onto a rectangular portion of honeycomb on his kitchen counter, in the dark. ๐Ÿ™‚
      But I suppose that’s not what is happening. (No offence meant, obviously)

      “Dr. Hiatus Lotus” is almost Sherlockian. Is it a cultural reference to anything?

    • #34302

      I had the same questions! I think Justin had some sort of feverish insight as to the naming. I wanted him to continue the “bee” theme and make the latest protagonist Dr. Hiatus Lotus Ph.B., but he finally figured that was too subtle.

      We should invent a backstory….

    • #34303

      I didn’t even think of 2bee2 and the prior app’s bee theme when I said that the Lotus image looked like a bunch of pills had been dropped on a piece of honeycomb.

      Are they meant to be medicine pills?
      Does the gameplayer try to get the pills into the holes? Is there a reason for doing that?
      Is the surface actually a honeycomb or just in that shape?
      Is the doctor hawking/prescribing these pills, or are they his personal medicine that he takes himself?
      There is no backstory?

    • #34304

      The honeycomb is in the background to give a visual cue as to how the pills fall. The “physics” is rather complex – but it looks quite intuitive, with the honeycomb.

      Gameplayers swipe half of a pill and try to match four of the same color. Give it a try.

      The doctor is tossing the pills into the pile. Other than that, I don’t think there’s a backstory.

    • #34305

      Thanks for the lowdown. I can’t give it a try because I don’t have Apple, but was curious about the game’s setting/story!

      Does Justin have a promotional/sales website?

    • #34306

      No, but he’s actively looking for a publicist.

      (2Bee2.com doesn’t really qualify.)

      Dr. Hiatus Lotus Ph.D. should be up on Android today or tomorrow. Busy times.

    • #34307

      Some feedback and thoughts for Justin —

      While I was downloading Dr Hiatus Lotus the other night, I saw Omni Bon Lotus Wish and grabbed that one as well. Now that I have decided to sit on the Group W bench and I’ve stopped studying which WUs to consider or not consider, I have some free time to actually enjoy myself. Before I offer my views of these games, you should first see if I fit within your target audience. [More about target audiences later.] That way, you can decide how seriously to take my feedback. I am by no means a gamer. Someone once gave me a computer game that he had been completely immersed in for months. It came with a 100-page book of rules and weapons lists that I flipped through and promptly tossed into the darkest corner of a closet along with the installation disks. If I play a game, I want no more than a few simple rules. These three games fit that bill — there’s just a single screen that tells me all I need to know to play each game. Simple rules, hours of play. Perfect (for me).

      And along that line, I found 2Bee2 fun in that there were certain levels where a new twist to the rules was added, just for that specific level. It gave the game variety without complexity and upped my interest level.

      I found Dr Lotus a bit confusing to play; I’ll have to go back and re-read the game play instructions, I probably skimmed the instructions too quickly. I think it had to do with some pills showing both ends while other pills showed only one end.

      But Omni Bon Lotus is a whole different story — that one sucked me in for a good long while. Of the three games, Omni was the one that got me going for the longest stretch!

      2Bee2 has the graphical effects that light up my brain cells when I’m able to match several colors [side note: I played Bejeweled for the longest time just in order to see the graphics effects — that was the payoff for me; unfortunately, I soon found that the scoring took over my reason for playing and then the game became more frustrating than enjoyable. I haven’t played Bejeweled much at all lately.] Personally, I found that as I reached the end of one level, I was able to choose whether to continue to another level or end the game at that point. Omni, on the other hand, drew me in and I couldn’t / didn’t want to stop until the game finally ended. That’s most likely the game that I’ll be going back to first.

      One suggestion I would offer is to have a help page that describes what each of the icons do. I did not find the icons to be all that intuitive. A day or two away from 2Bee2, for example, caused me to have to click on one icon after another trying to remember how to get the game to start again or pick up at the level where I had left off. On more than one occasion, I backed out of the game and went on to do something else.

      On the topic of target audiences … These three games are on the iOS platform. AskWoody.com’s audience is Windows-based, though some of us also use an iOS device. So marketing the games here is, strictly-speaking, a hit-or-miss strategy. Without a doubt, the good-will that is generated here (heck, 99 44/100th percent of the people who come to this site owe a great deal of good-will to Woody for all the work and info on these pages over many, many years) will very likely generate a much larger response than simply plopping an ad or a post on an iOS gamer site. This is the whole point of what Google, and now Microsnot, is doing by sucking the info and interests of their users into a vast catalog and selling ads that are targeted to specific users with an interest in specific products. But let me not get too far ahead of myself. Justin, you first need to identify WHO your target audience is — who are you writing these games for? The clearer you define that answer, the easier the next question is. Where do those people hang out? What sites would you expect them to go to? That’s where you market the games, that’s where you talk them up. [A caveat here: I am, by no means, any marketing magician. In a previous incarnation, I did some marketing of a “product” to an in-house audience that met with a good bit of success using what I considered to be a common-sense approach. That’s what I am trying to pass on to you. Forgive me if you have already learned the above lessons.]

      Here’s a different strategy to consider, one that is more scattershot. One word of caution, however — there may be some ethical concerns with this since, in a way, you are “gaming the system”. I frequent a couple of sites that list iOS apps that are changing/reducing their pricing (giveawayoftheday.com and appshopper.com). So for example, if you normally charge $.99 for your app and you change the price to offer it for free for a limited time, the app might get listed on those sites. I’ve seen some apps that start off priced at, say, $.99 for a while, go free for a few days, and yo-yo back and forth between the two. Meanwhile, each time the price changes, it gets listed. Eventually, the app might wind up staying at being free, but during those changes, the listing gets the eye-ball exposure. I guess it’s one way of marketing the product. Not sure how ethical that is. Heck, I’m not even sure it’s even a strategy, but some of these products, which I most likely would not have otherwise seen, did get my attention.

      Best of luck with the games.

    • #34308

      Thank you!

      Justin really needs some marketing muscle. It’s tough sitting on something truly unique and not being able to get it out to the mainstream.

    • #34309

      Greetings owburp,

      thank you for this detailed response.

      the problems with hiatus you had are interesting and kind of answered a long held question i had about the difficulty of the game, the fact that by default it is a match 4 game rather than a match 3 is not something people will immediately pick up, after years of testing this stuff every day my brain has been rewired to see the patterns instinctively but for someone playing for the first time, ok im going to go add a few more modes to it say you can choose how hard you want it to be as soon as i finish up the overhaul to bumble bom bee (2bee2) im currently doing.

      also im making a note right now about your navigation problems so that the game will immediately load the level preview for your most recently uncompleted level when you start. thank you thats very useful.

      the marketing advise is very much appreciated, i dont understand how this is suppose to work on the computer and boy have i tried. im currently looking to find people to help me with that but its complicated, when people tell you what they think you want to hear its impossible to know what is really going on, but the most common sense stuff is often the most valuable because everyone assumes that their is no reason to talk about it so you never learn it to in the first place.

      And on that note I really need to get onto UWP soon, i have been having a whale of a time trying to figure out how to integrate Microsoft Pubcenter into my work since Google Admob doesnt want to support them but finding the right extensions and implementing them properly is very confusing, for me at least.

      Finally, you mentioned that you enjoyed playing omni (omni bon lotus), is there anything you can think of that would improve it in your mind? any and all criticism and ideas, no matter how small or how harsh, are most welcome. i cant improve without it and i try to fold the ideas into an update as soon as i get them if its feasible.

      Thank you very much for everything you have said and have a great weekend,

      Justin Leonhard

    • #34310

      @Justin: “… after years of testing this stuff every day my brain has been rewired to see the patterns instinctively …”

      Seeing the patterns is a key to playing the games that could make them more enjoyable over time OR the INability to see patterns could turn into a stumbling block that causes people to put the game down after a few plays. Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the point of recognizing patterns in Hiatus yet. Hiatus moves at a fast pace and I have found my initial obstacle to be swiping the correct “pills”. Some of them are seen from one end (a circle), while others are seen from the side (an oblong). I haven’t figured out if it’s my skinny thumbs that aren’t contacting the screen properly (that may be the same reason I have occasional trouble typing on the screen’s keyboard) or if I’m not allowed to swipe certain shaped pills, but there are times I can’t get some pills to flip positions. So between the swiping problem and the fast pace of the pills dropping, I’m not even getting to the difference of it being a match 4 or match 3 game! I look forward to the extra modes you are adding to Hiatus — a “baby crawl” mode should give me an even chance at playing the game .

      Back to the concept of “seeing patterns”, Omni’s fast pace keeps me revved to make whatever matches I can see as soon as I see them. There’s no time for me to judge whether one match is more advantageous than another. I bet it will take forever before I am able to see one group of matches “doubling up” because a single flip would take out TWO groupings instead of just one. Here’s a suggestion — create a beginner level where a slower pace allows the player to see the simple patterns easily and begin to recognize that there are more complex patterns as well. Remember the key question that I offered previously — Who is your target audience? If they are hard core gamers, their experience will allow them to see those patterns in a fast-paced game. Old fogies like me play these kinds of games at a slower pace to relax and we’re not used to picking up these kinds of patterns as they whiz by in a fraction of a second.

      Again, along the line of “seeing patterns”, consider this … these games are physics-based. Does that mean that I could base a game strategy on those physics rules? In other words, if I have a choice of flipping this one or flipping that one, I could learn to see that there would be more of an advantage to one of those choices because the objects will probably fall into a larger matched grouping as a result. If that is true, then the game could be improved by slowing it down to allow me to learn to recognize the upcoming patterns. If I am never able to take advantage of the physics of the game, then what’s the point of having it physics-based? With Angry Birds, I learned to adapt to the rules of physics as I played: how hard should I shoot and at what angle; how do I take advantage of and how do I use physics to play these three games? And what opportunities can you give me to learn and develop some skill in order to get better at the games? Having those opportunities presents a challenge to learn and the learning gives me a chance at doing better with the game.

      One thing you could probably add pretty quickly is a Hints and Tips screen to go along with the How to Play screen. Mention the groupings; show the difference between flipping an object that matches a single color with flipping an object that happens to match both colors. The game might still run too quickly for some us to see those kinds of patterns, but at least it is something that we’re aware of and maybe begin looking for.

      I, personally, am not one to play games with any music or sound effects on, so the very first thing I do in any game is find where to shut the sounds down. Omni has no Settings icon and I eventually found the speaker controls behind the “?”, same as for Hiatus. 2Bee2’s speaker control was right up front. It’s a nitpick, but I’d prefer the controls right up front or, if the home screen gets too busy, behind a Settings icon (it’s where I would expect that kind of control to be). When you do the mode setting in Hiatus that changes the speed of the game, how about creating a separate Settings icon and placing the speaker control there as well?

      There were a few other things that crossed my mind as I was playing the games and if I can remember them again, I’ll post them.

    • #34311

      It occurred to me that if these games are physics-based, in order to slow down the speed that the objects fall, you’d have to change the nature of gravity. Perhaps you could set up a training camp on the Moon? Or how about a game that is based on space travel — different physics (gravity) on different planets? Sorry, now I’m just getting silly.

      How about having the games take place on an incline and changing the angle to slow the fall of the objects? Or you could narrow the frame and/or reduce the number of falling objects. The main idea is to allow the player to learn to see patterns emerge and have time to get used to reacting to those patterns.

    • #34312

      Like a slow-mo mode? Sounds interesting.

    • #34313

      Yep. A slow-mo mode to help the new player adjust to the game play. It seems to me that one thing that made Tetris so popular was the relatively slow speed at which the game pieces drifted downward. That allowed the new player to figure out the mechanics of the game and to learn to see pieces farther and farther ahead in order to gain an advantage in playing. If a game runs too quickly, the only players who are likely to stick with the game are those who have reasonably trained eyes and reflexes from previous gaming experience. Average players and old fogies like me might play for a while and move on because there’s little possibility for us to gain the speed necessary to get decent at the game. A slow-mo mode or a training mode allows a player to develop some eye and hand coordination.

      If the target audience is hard-core gamers, then the rapid speed of the game is justified to keep them from getting bored. But then you have only a narrow population. If, on the other hand, you want a wider audience then you have to have a way to help the slower ones gain the hand-eye coordination required to keep up with a fast-paced game. It’s like this — if there’s no way I could ever keep up with the speed of a game, why would I want to continue banging my head against the wall?

      That’s my perspective on it any way.

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