Summary of this week's feedback

Bit of a late Friday post, but here it is! This will be a short one as there's no development progress to share this week. I was mostly focused on other hobby projects, but did get a bunch of very useful feedback on the latest build. I thought I'd use this post to consolidate the feedback, and share (some of) what's left on the todo list.

Apologies for the very listy nature of this post!


Art - Owl

The owl sprites are very blocky / less detailed compared to other assets. At some stage, the sprites should be reworked with these things in mind:

  • Check out some spooky looking owls for reference (barn owls).
  • Aim for a prominent silhouette so the owl is recognisable even in the dark
  • More animation frames, including adding the missing animations (eating, sticking head through door...)
  • More detail in sprites to break up the big blocks of colour. Dithering? Consider dark on "top", light on "bottom"
  • Cooler wings
  • Add some head swivelling
  • On thief death, carry in talons instead of beak?

Art - Animations

  • Waterfall splash animation
  • Frogs around the pond that jump in when the player gets close. Based on palette, could be blue, green, red...
  • Jumping on the bed should have a unique animation
  • Swaying cables on the overworld - could be physics-based with wind moving them around
  • Only light fire and candle in house on action, instead of just walking past. Think about immediacy of action
  • Phone booth icons: add some movement to the speech bubbles to indicate tone / emotion

Art - Improvements

  • Extra layer of parallax on the overworld to fill out the middleground
  • Improve house graphic on overworld
  • Consistent owl size on overworld
  • Thief alternatives could play with extra height + have sideburns
  • Consider a different "deactivated" shrine sprite to make activating one more obvious

Art / Gameplay - Lighting

  • Consider having a shrine "flare up" when first activated, to make it more obvious
  • For overlapping lights in general, extend the "outer circle" to improve the look / feel. Helps with "owl putting out candle" readability


  • Ambience: Fire crackling
  • Ambience: Waterfall
  • Ambience: Wind outside
  • Ambience: main menu sound effect in library. Intensifies as thief gets deep into unexplored parts of the library? Or when owl is nearby? Play with the pitch to set an eerie mood
  • Vault coins: One approeach for a "stream" of audio would be to have a few overlapping sounds with varied delays.
  • Aus dial tones for the phone booth

File Storage

For linux, consider the XDG Base Directory Specification for save data.

  •  Data files should be in $XDG_DATA_HOME if set, or fall back to $HOME/.local/share
  • Config files should be in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME if set, or fall back to $HOME/.config

Gameplay - Book Requests

  • Add some puzzle elements to finding glyphs. Maybe one book's contents will point to another book.
  • One a final glyph is found, instead of just selecting the correct page, the exact text element should be chosen
  • Find coins within the pages of books to incentivise opening them
  • Find lore in books - loose pages you can take...

Gameplay - Progression / Exploration

  • Use money to make progress in the library
  • Incentivise taking money into the library, because that's where you're at risk
  • Consider adding additional vault keys - for purchase, or in the library, when a skeleton is too hard to get to.
  • Library "safe spaces". Something like a crawl space that the owl can't get into. Unique books / lore pickups can be found here.
  • Consider a map that the thief can check for "last known owl position" and library layout. Need to think about if the map will add or detract from the experience
  • Once lore collection is in the game, the attic-based lore could appear on a conspiracy-theory-style board

Gameplay - Cobwebs

  • Cobwebs could slow the thief down before breaking
  • Improve the cobweb collision detection so it's more obvious what breaks them

Gameplay - Discoverability

  • It's not obvious that throwing pebbles can move ladders. Need to think about how to introduce this feature, or if it's fine as it is
  • Bring attention to the "FIND" section of the hud
  • Add some visual aspect to clearing a room. Maybe more light...
  • Seeing the phone booth before the library entrance suggests it's the first thing the player should do (to e.g. be given a job). Rearrange, or introduce more clearly.

Gameplay - Goat

  • Allow jumping on fence / house in overworld. Maybe add some more verticality there in general.

Misc / Bugs

  • Fix incorrect sound effect in main menu when looking at About page
  • Don't spawn money bags in front of phone booth - leads to player accidentally making a call when trying to spam pick them all up
  • Owl can throw you throw / over walls, creating a softlock
  • Thief can throw all throwables over a wall, creating a softlock
  • Owl can place skeleton in unreachable locations, creating a (vault) softlock. Maybe allow buying new vault keys?
  • Give the thief a hoverboard in the level editor
  • Fix transparency in adding book requests in level editor

Lots to consider! And here's a short snippet of the todo list:

TODO list

  • Collectible: Lore image fragments
  • Collectible: Coins lying around library rooms
  • Book contents / requests rework. Find throwables, lore, puzzle clues, money...
  • Guardian owl second art pass (based on above feedback)
  • Audio second pass (consistency, add more ambience...)
  • Seeds should be implemented as part of the gameplay / puzzle
  • Add ladders than can traverse to other rooms
  • Consider adding large / small rooms that aren't exact screen fits
  • Dusty floors / shelves?
  • Puzzle element: Locked ladders that need to be hit by throwable to fall into place
  • Puzzle element: Switches that open on-screen gates
  • Puzzle element: Pressure plates that open on-screen gates
  • Puzzle element: Gates
  • Puzzle element: Floors that can't be phased through
  • Improve initial guardian introduction sequence
  • Surface "take GIF" functionality for sharing
  • Replay functionality? Good to enforce determinism and for feature sharing
  • Update lighting shader - don't light up through shelves / walls?

And to make the post just a bit more interesting - here's an old GIF recording from when I hadn't quite fixed the off-by-one errors:

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