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Amaranth

Yummy Drink Factory ~ Your Input

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I thought the look of the game was great, I loved the art and I loved the music. I'm not a big TM player.

 

I did find that with the actual complexity of the game (most TMs simply are brainless) I couldn't stop for a few days and come back later and remember the recipes as I didn't use them in real life: I had worked as a cook before, and a time management game that called for coffee syrup and whipped cream, chocolate etc were no problem because I make them. Many games imitate being a waiter, and it's no different than what I did as a waiter, nor much different from being a nurse. Remembering the recipe for a slime shake was a stretch for me. The game should be something special and something different, and I'm glad it is but most TMs are very reality grounded - even if a penguin is running a restaurant full of penguins, the game still plays like a regular restaurant. There's no magic, in any sense of the word. And there is a real magic to your work that I love. Dwarves, witches and slugs don't play a role in the usual TM market.

 

I believe you did a great job of a TM game, and I like the games within games of Aveyond 3 so far. I still like the idea of Mel getting arrested and all her gear removed at some point to start a future game, so she needs to work in a pub or some sort of place to get money to buy her adventuring supplies again. She's talked about how as a spy she had to be a chambermaid but we haven't seen her do it yet.

 

Another idea - all of the TMs I ever tried on a quiet nightshift were dumbed down brief pieces of a game on Yahoo that were offered to users to play for free. I still play the free Chicken Invaders sometimes, and I can enjoy the free web version which talked me into paying $20 for the most recent version with a million different frills and upgrades. After the user plays something they can enjoy for several levels or a brief period of time on a single location (I would recommend the Dwarf or Witch town location put up as a small game in and of itself), then they are told about the bigger and better version they can pay for with several new locations. The intro is much more stunted in these web games. There are many games out there I wouldn't pay money for without trying them, and YDF itself isn't something I would have gone looking for or paid money for initially if I hadn't played nearly every game you wrote and loved them. The only one I haven't played is Gaea Fallen, because I have Vista and I was told it wouldn't work so I didn't try.

 

I found Aveyond on Yahoo. Most of the games I play there are the free ones like Bookworm and Bejeweled where I enjoyed the free web version enough that I bought them for my phone and home computer. The paid for version is always bigger and better, but the web version is a good taste. When I select the list of games on Yahoo, it will say which I can play online, and which need to be downloaded - and I can't download anything at work. Try something with only one to two locations in the game with fewer recipes and frills and I think the more people that try it, the more will love it and maybe the true game in all it's glory will get more attention.

 

The other issue I hate to admit is that every one of the games I played here, I found a bug somewhere. Most weren't bad, but in YDF I came across a request for a drink I hadn't learned and it was a game stopping error. In AV3s, the testing is superior and that makes for a cleaner playing experience.

 

I might advise releasing a game here first a few months, as a Delta testing. The people here love your games and will keep coming back, and there are enough of us to tear the game to shreds for months. Then the beta version gets to be the one that gets released to the larger public.

 

You did a great job and I wouldn't give up on YDF yet, but I know not all recipes I was proud of in real life went over well when I was cooking. I'm sorry your hard and high caliber work went under appreciated this time.

 

Had you chosen to do a different type of game, or did someone tell you to imitate the other TMs on the market to cash in on a gaming fad?

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Rugwithlegs, to answer your last question, Amanda does other types of games sometimes between the Aveyond ones. (For instance, an adventure/HOG one is being worked on now, to be released after TLO.) YDF wasn't her first TM game, but for some reason (I believe because of the sometimes hard-to-remember recipes), it didn't do as well as the others. That's why she wants input to see how she can improve it or later TM games she may make. :)

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Okay, just wondering. I never played Grimm's Hatchery, I guess that was the first one. I had actually come here looking for more information on A Gypsy's Tale, which I assume you are referring to. I just tried to google HOG just now and I came up with several things that are likely unrelated. I am looking forward to the game just from the art alone.

 

A number of the portals seem to update the version they have for sale less frequently than this site does. So, a game gets released and Amaranthians are much quicker to catch the errors and get the build B and C versions. Those who find Amaranth Games on Yahoo and Big Fish, it seems they get introduced to Amaranth Games by the earlier builds that still need work and the patches are not as well advertised. The errors I found in YDF - and there were very few - stopped the game completely. If I didn't know of this site, I might have just asked for my money back and deleted the game, or if I'd encountered that error in a one hour trial, I might not have bought it if it came from another company. The fun I have the games here usually outweighs the errors, but this time I couldn't play anymore until the patches and the Build B became available. If the other portals took their time updating what version was available, there would have been no word of mouth and no recommendations to others to buy.

 

If the games were released on Amaranth Games first a month in advance, then the dedicated fans get the priveledge of buying first and we here all play a role in helping catch the small things that might prevent a game becoming a success. Then, when a game goes to larger portals, the game is the best possible expression of Amaranth's ability as a game designer. The wide release becomes the Build B which usually gets made, and the larger public gets exposed to the better version of the game. The people here feel rewarded, and Amaranth Games looks better. More people want to then join Amaranthia to get the latest work. I know nothing about game creation, so maybe I'm being naive.

 

Some things are always going to appear - we do drug trials all the time with hundreds of testers and then the drug gets released to billions of people for decades and new side effects are always discovered. It's hard to catch everything.

 

This really was a beautiful looking and fun game, and that makes me sad it didn't do well.

 

I'm sorry I'm wordy and repeating myself. I had another idea - maybe enable someone sending their recipe book to the printer so the player has a hard copy recipe book eventually?

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Most weren't bad, but in YDF I came across a request for a drink I hadn't learned and it was a game stopping error.

I'm kind of curious about this one--I don't actually know what happened in your gameplay, but it wasn't just one of the challenge days? Where you were supposed to make a special drink for a customer that came after closing time in exchange for a wand if you got it right?

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No, there was a bug where some players would get a request for a drink that wouldn't be learned for another few days.

 

I thought it had been caught, so either it's still out there, or rugwithlegs was playing an older version.

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Probably an older version, as I was one of the first in line for it. I'm just saying that some portals wouldn't have updated what they were selling for weeks, so the portals might have been selling the glitch version I had for a longer period of time - just a thought of what might have gone wrong with sales. Some errors can be ignored, but not this one. Argoyle described it correctly.

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Okay, I downloaded the latest version and gave it a second chance. It's very cute, but it's not my usual type of game.

 

I had flashbacks to working in a hostel cafe in Lake Louise decades ago. This is a very, very accurate simulation of what it is like to be behind a coffee counter. The cafe I was in had fewer drink options with just a type of milk, espresso and syrups.

 

It's not marketed as a sim here, just as cute. Yahoo calls it a puzzle game. The caption talks about a game for kids. I couldn't easily handle a menu with 20 items when I was 26, a menu of 36+ items is very intimidating for me.

 

There's no factory really, so I might have called it Fairyland Barrista or Captive Barrista. The name had me expect the video game version of a Pepsi bottling plant.

 

I'm glad I upgraded it, and I'm glad I have it. I'm sorry it wasn't as successful as Amaranth hoped it would be, there is clearly a huge amount of high quality work put into this.

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Amanda I thought it was a great game... had some glitches at first I remember... also the title was just not appealing to people, plain and simple. I know this because everyone laughed at me when I said it, haha. But I thought this game was challenging and fun. Don't give it away!

 

Also, I have to say I am very proud of the soundtrack I did for that game. I still love those tunes. Did anyone else like them? I think we could have worked on the characters' sounds and also the game got too repetitive and there wasn't enough "award" factor... although the xmas light were WAY cool... they didn't do much. We needed like, awesome sound cues :-) And different cute voices.

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I thought I'd replied to this topic before, but looking over it now, I was totally wrong hehe. Here goes my late response. =)

 

I agree with what shaz and Aaron have said. Like shaz, I normally don't play TM games to "think." Looking over the TM games I play, they are mainly about mindless clicking. Also, as far as memorizing the recipes, I didn't mind it so much, but there were a few recipes that were pretty similar and those always broke my rhythm... which I didn't exactly enjoy. It has been a while since I last played YDF, but I think there were also two green toppings that looked very similar in color and I got them confused pretty often. There were also a couple of recipes that confused me because based on the name I thought some ingredient should be added, or other times I thought there were ingredients that didn't belong. Maybe next time if a game calls for memorizing recipes like this, the recipes could be more intuitive (so that less memorization is required), and the toppings could be created in a way that they can be more easily distinguished from one another. Also, I'm not sure if this was integrated into the difficulty level... I remember that easier difficulties have fewer recipes to learn, but how about instead of having just fewer recipes, having only the simpler, more basic recipes be learned for "easy"? Then for "normal" we can have some of the more complex ones, and for "difficult" we can have the really crazy ones that required an insane number of toppings.

 

Elaborating on what Aaron said, I'm totally with him on the award/reward factor. I love being able to customize things (even things like Lydia's dresses in Aveyond 3), so more noticeable upgrades would have been nicer, instead of just different lights. I'm a bit of a Diner Dash junkie, and I really like being able to choose the way the diner looks. I think in addition to the "reward" concept that Aaron mentioned, having more options for upgrades/rewards also gives the player a bit more variety so that we're not just staring at the same picture for a while.

 

Last... I'm also with Aaron on the name. I played the game because I got to see all of Amanda's blog entries, and because I'd already other games from here. All the pictures in the blog and reading about all the work being done just made the game look irresistible. However, if I hadn't played any of the other games and just stumbled on YDF on a portal, I can't say the name would attract me enough to take a closer look.

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Aaron, the music was a highlight as always. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is a long time favorite, and I liked your treatment of it. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the next games and I was very happy to see the Naylith theme back from AP. It's still one of my favorites of yours.

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Actually I think Amanda got that track from a royalty-free site. Someone mentioned at the time, that another game that was released at the same time, also used exactly the same track :)

 

Aaron's music is what you hear in all the villages as you're frantically trying to keep up with the customer requests.

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I loved YDF and was totally addicted to it for months. Other than Grimm's Hatchery I hadn't played TM games before. So I really liked that you had to remember the recipes to get faster at this game and it made it more challenging especially at the highest levels. The few other TM games I've tried since haven't held my interest for as long.

 

The one thing I would like to see changed is to be able to use the wands (for mocha, peppermint etc...) in the mode when you use your own recipes. I got so used to using the wands that I found I didn't enjoy the non story mode so much when I tried it. So I didn't really get into creating my own recipes or using other peoples. I just kept playing the last round of the story mode again and again. I eventually got bored of this, although I still go back to playing it now and again :) Hmmm talking about YDF again is bringing back cravings to play it again ;)

 

Aaron - I really enjoyed your music as always. With non AM games I find I eventually get annoyed with the music and turn it off but not with yours ;)

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Thanks for the comments on the music! Yep I did not do the title screen but I did do everything else. I think there were... umm... 5 themes all together. I really love all of them, but Stargale Glen is a favorite. Also, did you know that the theme for Witchwood... was also integrated into Aveyond 3's Witchwood!!! That is the ONLY theme that crossed over into the Aveyond world. Listen carefully to them and you'll see!

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Perhaps a bit late weighing in on this one, but I thought I'd toss my 2 cents worth in anyway.

 

I loved YDF and play it through several times a year. A couple of ideas if a re-release/update/whatever is considered:

 

1. Possible name change? I was never keen on the name. Perhaps something like "Mocha Mayhem" or "Coffee Craze" or something? "Enchanted Coffee Shop" even. (I personally like "Mocha Mayhem".)

 

2. More or different power-ups for higher levels. Pogo's bakery shop game "Crazy Cakes" has powerups you can get when you serve customers quickly. Things like a one-time "fill selected order immediately" type of thing. Customers who are satisfied could leave either a tip or a "bonus gift" of a powerup. Or, purchase power ups with your tips, like the decorations.

 

3. I really like the ability to create your own recipes. It's creative and fun. However, in order to play with your own recipes, you've got to create a LOT of them or your game is going to be BO-RING. Perhaps, during regular game play, you have the option of creating your own drink recipe to come into play in future levels (or import a recipe you've gotten from somebody else). Sort of integrate the story-line gameplay and the "your own recipes" one. (Plus I LOVE the idea of trading recipes on Facebook.)

 

4. Actually purchase upgrades. Each "day" has an earnings goal. Why aren't we using that money, like in Cake Mania? Let the player choose which upgrades to purchase (extra blender, bigger choco grinder, etc). I know that some upgrades are necessary for game-play to continue (vanilla grinder, etc) but those could be required purchases, like the type in Farm Mania, meaning you have to actually purchase them before the other upgrade items are "unlocked" for you to buy.

 

5. An "End Day" button that will end and save your day once you have reached your earnings goal. In the lower levels, when the recipes are few and easy to remember, I often end my day early. But when the recipes get more complex, I often want to play a bit longer to practice. However, sometimes I get to the point where I'm done practicing, but I can't end the day because I will lose my progress, even though my earnings are complete. Also, sometimes when the "Closed" sign appears, and I finish that last order quickly, I have to wait for the timer to run out. That is rather annoying. The day should end automatically if the Closed Sign has appeared and the last order has been filled. Not a big thing, though, really. But it would be nice.

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Since someone else tossed their thoughts into the ring this late, I might as well.

 

I didn't download the demo for YDF/GH, not because I didn't think it was a appealing/cute/whatever. I just personally cant stand that type of game. it's just like first person shooters: I'm not good at them, I want an engrossing story, and I want to feel accomplished.

 

To be utterly frank, I think you've constantly attracted the wrong market for the last few years if you intend on doing games similar to YDF/GH, since you've almost consistently released RPG story-driven games. I like RPG's because they're engrossing and practically beg me to play them to continue the story and develop the characters. I'm not a casual gamer, casual games are for people who are bored at work or have 30 minutes to waste. If I have 30 minutes to spare, I'll watch TV. but on the other hand I'll spend hours playing a good RPG game. I don't think you've attracted enough casual game-players, but I also happen to think you're loosing some of your more serious game players.

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@nick: actually, i think amanda said she's getting more from her casual games than from the rpgs, so the casual games are more profitable than the rpgs. Don't remember where though and i can be totally wrong of course.

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