I've been playing with the speed of the ship and its really is just too fast if I double it. It makes it more of a dash/avoid style game which isn't what I want. The real problem I guess is that I can't just speed it up a little since a multi colour sprite must rest on 2 pixel boundarys.
Luca has just finished playing the sped up version and while he enjoyed it, he thought it was way too easy - as did I. All the paths have been built for a slow moving ship, and speeding it up pretty much spoils everything.
What we could do is add a powerup that speeds your ship up for 30 seconds or so, which means you get the benifit of it, but doesn't ruin the game
I'm still really surprised that everyone finds it too hard, as all the games people go on about; I'm stinking at! I think its just practice everyones all needing. Thing is, if its too easy then everyone will just finish it too quidckly and get no long term enjoyment from it.
Thats the thing about trying to balance the game with the feedback I get, everyone playing it wants to finish it and in some respect wants it as easy as possible so they can do it pretty quickly. But theres no point in that. You need a game thats challenging and does make you scream, but that you'll come back for more too. In this respect I think it has to be harder than everyone's wanting, but not so hard that theres no chance in reaching the end.
Blood Money on the C64 was hard, way too hard. While I did manage to pass each wave individually, I couldn't do a whole level. I think the trick here is to make sure I can pass at least level 1 and 2 (since I really am crap at these games), then make the later ones harder; perhaops getting someone much better to actually playtest it and make sure its possible.
So on Friday I'll release a new version, but the ship won't speed up, that'll come when we add power ups again. I know this won't be particually well recieved, particually since I dont intend to add restart points either but hay ho...
As to restart points.... The scripting makes this hard since you have to fastforward through it (much like the debug system does) and its pretty nasty to say the least. I also think the amount of shield you have means you're actually pretty well protected! You can get hit a LOT before your thrown back to the start! Many games need the restart because if you get hit by a single bullet your dead! We don't. Also since we let you keep most of your weapons, you have the chance to actually build up even more next time around so when you get to the place you died, you should have more shields and weapons this time around!
Still... thats the theory, so for these 2 things I'm at least partially sticking to my guns. I will allow a temporary speed boost, but not permanent. I just find games where you fly around at great speed too hard and frantic, and thats not what I'm trying to make.
Edit: At the end of the day, it has to be a game I enjoy making and playing, and I don't agree with the restart points as I believe you would HAVE to lose all your weapons and coins and I hate that! Mid way through a level with a pea shooter is nuts! You might have 10 lives but they'll all go when you restart with a crap weapon. If you start from the begining, then I feel you can keep most of the goodies you have as you've been punished enough.