This post is a response to Qloof. While I appreciate the effort and passion behind his post, it would have been far better if logged as GitHub issues or as individual Forum or Discord posts. If Qloof had raised his concerns as he found them, they would have been resolved long ago.
Also, many of the complaints in the post amount to "the original game was better!". Of course, Qloof (or anyone else who feels that way) can continue to play the original game; nothing about releasing S&L prevents that. S&L's goal - both in its mobile and Steam editions - is to introduce this amazing game to a new generation of players who may not have seen (or have almost forgotten) the original game.
This Forum is not well suited to discuss a seven-page document covering multiple topics, but I’ll do my best. I've posted a line-numbered version of the Qloof's post to Google Docs and will reference its topics by line number, shown in [square brackets] after each point. The Google Doc is enabled for suggestions if you'd like to comment it directly.
- Steam background image 
The character art has not been upscaled, and I'm not seeing any pixelation, even at maximum resolution on my ultrawide monitor. I've changed the color of "in" to red so that it's easily visible regardless of where it falls on the rainbow (it moves when you resize the Steam window).
- Slow load time 
issue #748 is included in V2.91. Initial start time is still slower than I'd like, but second and subsequent starts are very fast.
- Splash screen image is blurred while logo is sharp 
Unity blurs the splash screen image so that its logo shows up better. There’s no way to change this. However, Unity has announced that they’re going to change their policy and allow the logo to be suppressed. Once I get the update that supports this, I’ll remove the logo, which hopefully will remove the blurring.
In addition, I’ve changed the splash screen image to use a slightly modified version of the main screen image. IMO, this works pretty well even when blurred.
- Menu 
- The menu consists of seven buttons, each with its own icon and text. I need clarification on why Qloof believes it's “confusing to navigate” or has inconsistent graphics and have PMed Qloof to ask.
- While Controls and Change Language (but not Help) could conceivably be moved to Options, this would add an extra click to using them. In addition, new players might not be aware of them. As for Cloud Connect, it’s not on this menu and hasn’t been for some time.
- Controls gets a keyboard button because (unlike the other items), players may want to consult it while playing. Informing players of this button is another reason Controls is on the initial menu.
- The Controls form is laid out in three columns of function, key, and description. What is confusing or unreadable about this?
- The game has relatively few controls and some of them (like Shift+Arrow for pan) are not readily customizable. That’s why issue #674 for customizing controls suggestion has been deferred to a future release.
- Stories Organization 
I don’t understand this one. The game has exactly two changes to the original game’s story organization:
- RTW classic has been split into two stories
- The Back to Wonderland tutorial has been moved to the Playground
The mini tutorials that begin each story are as they were in the original games. Aside from the TOW first chapter that is in the Playground in S&L, I’ve left them as they are.
The Platinum levels are in Custom Stories for the same reason they are in RTW: they introduce game mechanics that are used only in custom levels.
It’s interesting that Qloof points to Wonderland.Net’s start screen as an example to emulate. Not only is this screen more crowded and bland than anything in S&L, but also it’s a laundry list of game names that are meaningless to anyone who’s not familiar with the originals. This screen is designed for fans, not for new players.
- Secret Worlds map 
The principal reason the Secret Worlds map is not in S&L is consistency. S&L is one game with multiple stories. It’d be confusing to new players if one story had different coins and gates and a different way of progressing through levels. And IMO, the map does have navigation issues – it results in a lot of backing and forthing that I personally found somewhat tedious the first time I played WSW.
That said, I agree that the map is a charming feature and it’d be great to have it in the game as an alternate method of navigating Secret Worlds, perhaps with a "fast travel" feature allowing quick navigation to a completed level. There are two next-release enhancements for this issue #522 the map itself and issue #527 for an option to restore original graphics, which would include the keys and stars.
- In-Game menu 
Qloof makes a good point that Select New Level would be better at the bottom of this menu. issue #738 for this is resolved in V2.91. Qloof is also correct that this menu could be reduced to six buttons. However, players who wanted to check help or select an option during gameplay (as Qloof himself does in his “first ten levels” video) would be forced to save the level, request the menu again, complete their desired activity, and then select and restore the level.
- Vsync Count 
I doubt that Qloof seriously believes that Unity implemented a feature solely to lower performance. In fact, Vsync Count does exactly what it says on the Options menu – addresses screen tear in fullscreen mode. I added this option to the game when a couple of players reported screen tearing, an issue specific to their setup and one I couldn’t reproduce. They were both able to correct the problem by setting vsync=1.
BTW, there’s an undocumented feature that Shift+F11 displays vsync count and FPS.
- Can’t navigate a menu 
I’m not sure which menu is being referenced here, but I’m not aware of any menu buttons that don’t work or are mislabeled. I’ve sent a PM to Qloof asking for clarification.
- Camera moves too fast at level start 
This is the first time anyone’s mentioned this. But I respect Qloof’s experience and have opened issue #737 to modify level start setup so the camera moves more slowly and in only in one direction (down).
- First person mode has some serious issues 
I’ve opened issue #736 for this. This is not resolved in V2.91, but will be addressed in the following update.
- Coin counts and timer are hard to read against white background 
issue #740 for this is resolved in V2.91.
- Sign text may interfere with mobile gameplay 
My guess is that Qloof has never played the mobile game. Mobile players navigate using a joystick and buttons at the bottom of the screen, so the sign text is well out of the way.
- Z-fighting on some conveyors; white artifact on chat icon 
issue #741 for this is resolved in V2.91.
- The mipmapping on the level textures is very, very noticeable here. 
Unfortunately, this paragraph doesn’t define “here”. I’ve sent a PM to Qloof asking for clarification.
- Seams on top of walls may result from texture atlas 
While an atlas is a fairly standard method of texturing a cube to have different textures on individual sides, Qloof's contention that it may be causing seams on the walls is interesting, and I’ve opened issue #742 to investigate.
Qloof also states that the atlas width not being a power of two could be an issue. I’ve never heard of any power of two requirement for textures. Can Qloof (or anyone else) provide a reference? The reference in Qloof’s document is to a Wikipedia page defining power of two, which is not helpful at all.
- Shadows are low-res 
Qloof is correct that the shadows are low-res, which was done deliberately to minimize their impact on graphic performance. I’ll consider a future release option supporting player selection of shadow resolution, though I’m dubious that it’ll have any significant effect on gameplay.
- Water 
I understand that Qloof prefers the original game’s water and has arguments to justify this position. However, I spent a good deal of time on S&L’s water and very much like the way it looks. Although there are some community members who share Qloof’s opinion, there are others who like the water the way it is (and have told me so directly). I’ll accommodate both groups in the next release by implementing enhancement issue #527 to provide an option for classic textures (including water). But the initial release will have refractive water.
That said, I agree there is a flickering problem that is resolved in V2.91 under issue #743.
Also, Qloof makes a fair point that some of the other objects in the game could be considered for visual upgrades. I’m open to that in the next release – please log a Suggestion issue citing objects that should be upgraded (or – even better - provide actual upgraded models).
- Animation issues 
I’ve divided the items in this paragraph into three groups:
- Issues resolved in V2.91 (issue #744)
- Turning is faster on ice and conveyors
- Characters blink more often and for longer (characters already blink, but probably not often enough)
- Sliding animation starts after the character’s first step onto ice
- Issues I’m not seeing or can’t reproduce
- Delay before death animation (it starts as soon as the character dies; if anyone knows of an exception, please provide a video)
- Trampolines halting motion or delaying the camera (I cannot reproduce this; please provide a video if you can)
- Issues deferred to next release (issue #745)
- Additional idle animations
- Revisions to pushing and walking animations
- Higher trampoline jumps
- Issues resolved in V2.91 (issue #744)
- Bonus coin particle effect 
The issue with the bonus coin particle effect in first-person view is that it’s not visible at all, not that it’s pointing straight up (which is facing the camera in first-person). In any case, this is fixed V2.91 under (issue #746. I’ve also changed the text orientation in the standard view, though to my eye, it doesn’t make much difference.
- Fireballs, flames, and rainbow bursts 
This is similar to the water issue. These are as-designed and I like the way they look. There will be a next-release option to use the original graphic (a plain white sphere) for fireballs and flames.
- Wood box explosion effect needs improvement 
Qloof has a good point here, and this is resolved in V2.91 under issue #747.
- Remastered music is tiring to listen to 
This is interesting for what it implies about the overall approach in the critique. I didn’t do the music remastering (it was contributed by Cyndanera), so I don’t have a personal stake in how it’s received. But it sounds good to me (which is why I put it in the game), and it’s hard to understand why someone would find it “tiring to listen to” – except that it’s different from the original game
- Performance issues on some levels 
This is an excellent example of why it’s better to report issues as they’re found, rather than saving for a massive data dump. This problem was previously reported by Ash and kumaccino and logged as issue #637. It was resolved in update V2.83, so Qloof would get different results if he reran the performance tests on a current build.