Edit: (Mar. 2, 2010) Version 0.0.9.4 fixes the crash bugs reported by Jaffe. They were bugs that would definitely pop up so they needed to be patched up right away.
Edit: (Feb. 28, 2010) Version 0.0.9.3 has the new beads system for you to try out and the fixed collision. There was an edit to the end of the new extra level, it is a cosmetic change that will make certain things about it easier to identify. (Not giving spoilers.)
There are currently 11 obtainable beads. Most of these are practically given to you throughout the game and would be pretty hard to miss with the exception of the extra levels. Every extra level has one and aside from Bullet Bill Fort, they are usually the beads with the somewhat abnormal effects. This also gives the extra levels more value than just more skill points and heart pieces. Because you guys would have most, if not all of them with relative ease by this point, I have given a way for you to just have them right off the bat if you want. In the Data Center, press Enter, and type "friendship" in the pop-up box. This will give you all of the beads currently in the game. This feature is only accessible if you have completed Metropolis and only available until version 0.0.10.1. There is also a second bead slot available to purchase at any shop. If you are not starting a new game, it will cost 30, the real cost is 100, but the 30 cost is already loaded in your save file. 70% off sale for anyone with a current save file. :P For those wondering, the beads are counted toward your Item %, they are counted as "Chests" in the menu and on the map.
Edit: (Feb. 26, 2010) The sound option is no longer a toggle, but is now a slider so you can adjust the sound volume now. This is not available for music since I am using a few mp3s and Game Maker does not have access to change their volume, by default anyway. When the project is in beta, I may look into an extension for that. Note that on the next update, you will have no sound when you start up. The sound option was a toggle so the value was either 0 or 1, which means your sound volume will be at 1% when you start up. I used the same var I was working with before.
Spire of Forgotten Souls
Right on to game stuff today. If you played version 0.0.9.2 past Black Rock, you will notice another area called "Spire of Forgotten Souls". (Windy Slopes is the next story area.) This area is optional, it is not labeled "Extra" though as it follows different rules than the rest of the game. You can not use items there and when you die, you will be put back at the ground floor. However, you are given a check point every 5 floors, which you can come back to at any time. Each floor is a trial of sorts and is timed. The timer resets after every 5 floors as well. The rewards for completing this area... well I'll let you find out. It will be developed along with the rest of the game. As for the amount of floors, I'm not telling you. ^_^ Once you go in there is no turning back unless you die or complete 5 floors. Except for now as you are free to roam Floor 1.
Character Collision Change
I was fiddling around with the Game Maker 8 sprite collision tools and realized how improved they are over previous versions. Jerry's collision was done through changing a collision mask depending on what animation he was in. This new method is far more accurate and faster due to not having to constantly swap collision masks. It is now done by pixel collision, though it is still not his entire sprite, just like before. The dimensions of the collision box have not changed, but you will no longer hit your head on things when jumping and dashing. Which is where the inaccuracies came in. Collision is also based on which frame Jerry is in now as well. I am really happy with the results after testing this. To be honest, your hitbox is just a tiny bit smaller for certain frames.
Screenshot from Windy Slopes.
Windy Slopes will have a few surprises, bring lots of deaths, laughs, and a few direction changes for the game. A few new skills will be added later, I will make a note of them here later.
The 4th Equipment Slot
I bet you have been wondering what that is for. You can customize your friendship bracelet with Magical Beads of Awesome. Those familiar with THFG will find it similar to the NanoCons from that game. You were supposed to have access to it much much earlier in the game, but I never finished coding that equip menu, so I kept it locked down. It will be available soon though. :) Unfortunately for those of you that have been following this will not have any beads as you get them throughout the game from chests. (These chests are different than the ones that give money and items.) The explanation for how to equip these beads will be given the first time you open one of those chests. These can be freely swapped, unlike skills which are permanent once you spend the points. The effects of these beads are things like; boosted resistance against an element, boosted Power/Defense, Physical/Spirit. Very basic stuff, some of them mimic a few skills, but there are a limited number of bead slots. (Which can be boosted throughout the game.) You start with 1 and can increase it to 4 by the end of the game. By this point of the game, you would have 2 slots. (You would be able to get your second slot when getting to Abstracity.)
I've now played through all of the Touhou games. Well all of the Windows compatible games. Done a 1cc run of 11 and 12. I posted stage 5 and 6 of my run through Touhou 12.
The series is pretty fun if you like shooters. The earlier games are good, but not as refined as the later games in the series.
Touhou 6 ~ the Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil
This is the most popular in the series it seems. It's the first to be playable on Windows. This one is not that hard, or at least it wouldn't be, but you cannot see your collision point in focused mode and there is no indicator of where the bosses are at the bottom of the screen. Not being able to see your collision point meant you had to guess when weaving through thick waves of bullets. That made it unnecessarily hard when bullets where flying horizontally. This one also has the humorous spell by Cirno on Easy mode which you can literally stand in front of her and not get hit.
Touhou 7 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom
This is the second game in the series I played, and I played it right after Subterranean Animism, which makes Hard and Lunatic (well maybe not so much this mode) on this game seem like a walk in the park. This one is the easiest in the series for me. It had some of the more creative patterns in the series in my opinion. The Prismriver Sisters have a spell that hurts my eyes, it's the way the colors and patterns are used. x_x
Touhou 8 ~ Imperishable Night
My favorite of the pre-9 games. To me, this one has some of the best music in the series. The backgrounds were very creative with this game, were a bit distracting at times, but not as much as Mountain of Faith. I don't have much to say about this one other than it has the useless character, Reisen. :P I never really analyzed the scoring system too much, I just try to grab as many point items as I can without bombing too much, since that seems to lower their point value.
Touhou 9 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Err, lets not talk about this one, it's not a traditional Touhou game.
Touhou 10 ~ Mountain of Faith
This one has some of my favorite bullet patterns and backgrounds. Overall, this one is really solid. The scoring system is very simplistic, you just need to make sure you space out your kills and item pick ups to keep the point items worth from decreasing. It's not too hard, I can 1cc this one if I go back and try. This one took grazing out for some reason, which is a shame because it had the best moments for grazing.
Touhou 11 ~ Subterranean Animism
The first Touhou game I played. (Or at least recently, technically Imperishable Nights is the first one I played, but that was years ago and it was only for a few minutes, so I don't count that.) This is when the series suddenly spiked up in difficulty. Even the second boss can give lots of trouble, and the third stage kicks things up a notch even more. It has my most frustrating Touhou level. Stage 5 just doesn't let up at all. Then the boss, Rin, is by far the hardest Stage 5 boss in the series, and definately one of the more tricky fights since it's easy to trap yourself, especially on Hard and Lunatic mode. It also has my favorite character in the series, (which may be a shock to some of you who chat with me in irc) which is Satori. (No you guys, it's not Rin. I like cat girls, but that doesn't automatically make her my favorite.) :P I find her story interesting and is actually sad. Her ability of reading conscious thoughts makes people afraid of her, so most hate and avoid her, as they have no real privacy when she is around. The scoring system is easy to grasp. Every 100 grazes increases the max point multiplier by 1%. When you graze, the multiplier goes up, when it maxes out, all pickups will come to you. You get them at full point value, and you don't have to hunt them down, which was essential for Hard and Lunatic, when you're practically locked to a small area of the field because of the ridiculous amounts of bullets on screen. I find this one a lot of fun, but I feel there wasn't as much creativity with the bullet patterns as there were with previous games. The idea of this one seemed to just be litter the field with loads of bullets. Luckily the backgrounds are dark and make it easier to focus on the bullets.
Touhou 12 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object
This one is also hard. For me it was a notch under 11 in terms of difficulty as the only major hard parts for me are Murasa (stage 4 boss) and the final boss. The stages are pretty easy to get through. From what I've seen, 11 has harder stages, and this one has harder bosses (aside from Satori and Rin). It has a weird scoring system, which you have to collect UFOs in a particular color order that spawn off certain enemies. Once you do, a UFO appears and collects all the power ups on the field. If it collects enough, you get a bonus depending on the color of the UFO. They also multiply the point value of the items it collects, which you get back once you destroy it. They also destroy all bullets on screen when destroyed, which is super helpful on Hard and Lunatic. Every 10 grazes also increases the point value of pickups by 10 points, so grazing a lot is important if you're going for a high score. It may not seem like much, but think about how often you can graze and mix that with the UFO point multipliers.
If any of you do decide to play Touhou, I recommend staying away from the fans as they are a crazy bunch. Though I do encourage you to look at some of the fan made content out there of it, because honestly, the fan created content is half the fun of Touhou.