Stuff Under the Header


Mentally and Physically Exhausted

Edit: (December 29, 2011) Actually I take back my statement about Skyward Sword, it's a great game, but Majora's Mask still remains my favorite. :P

Something like that. I'm so looking forward to next week. This is just a short post to say Merry Christmas and all that good stuff.

I'm a bit behind on getting that demo out by February, and considering there's a bit of extra content I'd like to put in, it will probably be March. But who knows, starting next week, I'll have more free time.

I've been asked how I play DT, as some are very curious if I'm any good at it. I'll just say that I'm pretty beast at it. (w/e that means) I wouldn't make a hard game if I couldn't handle it myself. That being said, I'll go ahead and come out with something humorous. When DT1 was released, I had not actually beaten the Shroud Lord on the Distorted setting. It wasn't until recently that I was able to pull it off. (Though I hadn't tried in awhile.) I won't be doing that again. If I can't do something myself in the game, then I won't be releasing it. Hopefully if I can get my recording stuff working on this computer, I'll see about getting a video up of me beating that monstrosity on that setting. Oh no... damn it, that means I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN! >_<

Anyway, there's a recording I have of me fighting the Demon Cursor on Distorted that I made just before releasing the game. The video has been listed as Unlisted on youtube since then, which I will be changing the moment I publish this post.

Here's the video, by the way, as a spoiler, I lose. Which will make you smile. :P
Me sucking at DT


A Game Review... in the sky

Edit: (December 17, 2011) An update to DT1 was made today. Fixes a crash bug in the menu that may happen after Black Rock Fortress. The exe was also done with GM8.1 so it'll run faster. As always, if there are any issues with the new version, send me an email.

Now that I've finished Skyward Sword, DT has my full attention again. I'm still thinking a demo should be ready by February. This post isn't about DT though, mostly anyway. Since I finished the above mentioned game, I'd like to speak about it, I suppose it would be called a review. Oh yes, my review is just text, there's no fancy screenshots or videos.

Skyward Sword Review
Skyward Sword is bad ass and you should play it. Despite the few downfalls that it has, it is incredible in many ways. The obvious thought on everyone's mind concerns the controls, and I have to say, they were perfect. They were very intuitive and responsive, and gave me no issues. You'll have to calibrate the wiimote plus every time you start the game, but it only takes a few seconds. I typically played in 6 hour sessions and never had to recalibrate the controller during that. Link's sword attacks were simplified into 8 directions, (plus the stab) which I felt was perfect from both a design and gameplay perspective. Seeing Link swing exactly the way you want him to is a great feeling and I don't think I'd want to play another Zelda game without these controls. It reminds me of when I played Metroid Prime 3, I simply can't bring myself to play the first two without those motion controls. Skyward Sword quickly became my favorite Zelda game in the series and kept that all the way through the experience, even topping my previous favorite, Majora's Mask. It doesn't quite beat the mood and atmosphere set in Majora's Mask, but far exceeds it in every other department.

The amount of freedom with the controls might feel a bit overwhelming or too complex at first, but the game does an excellent job of easing you into its world and how to play in it. Before the game was released, the developers said you wouldn't be able to waggle your way through fights and that you'd have to take in the situation and decide from there, what attack would be best. I was glad to see that this was actually the case... with the boss fights. A fair number of enemies can be waggled through, like the Bokobins and their many forms, though not waggling will get you through them faster. Minibosses and anything bigger however, all require you to think about what you're doing. The first boss fight displays that really well and teaches you things to look for. If you simply swing at him without regard to what you're doing, you'll never hit him and he'll actually take your sword away from you if you mess up enough and fill you in on what you're doing wrong. He follows your sword with his hand and will grab it if you mess up. I found that there were two ways of fighting him actually. You can either be really quick about changing up where you're coming from, or you can keep the sword in one position for a short time and his guard will relax a bit, which gives you a lot more time to come from a different angle.

There was a boss that was really bleh, but most of them are great, including one in the sky while you're on your bird, which was easy, but played out in such an amazing way that made it very memorable. The final sequence of bosses are the best as well.

Combat is a huge focus this time around. Aside from the sword play, your shielding can play a huge part in the outcome of a fight. Link's shield can break if it takes too much damage. To use the shield, just flick the nunchuk. If Link simply holds his shield out and blocks any attack, the shield takes damage. Link can also shield bash as well, which is done at the moment Link brings the shield out. (And when you flick the nunchuk again.) If you block an attack during this, the shield doesn't take damage and you can stagger the attacker. The timing for this is different depending on the oncoming attack. Simply blocking also holds the negative effect of making Link stagger as well. More so on enemies that hit hard. If an enemy can combo at all and hits your shield on that first swing, Link will stagger and be unable to dodge or shield in time for that next attack. I found that Link could dodge faster than he could shield, specifically after being staggered.

I don't have much to say about the visuals. They're spot on and never detract from the game. It uses an impressionist style of art, which was nifty to see in motion. The blur effects when seeing something from a distance looked nice and consistent. The music, of course, is great. The main theme and boss theme were two that really stuck out to me. The story flows well and is coherent. While some of the characters are bland, the narrative does a good job of making you want to see what happens to Link and Zelda, what their purpose is, and where their quest brings them. Eh... nothing else really needs to be said there.

This game showcases, once again, that Nintendo is the king of level design. I could talk awhile about the brilliant way this was done in Skyward Sword so... I will... a little. I'll talk only about the dungeons in this one. Aside from the first two, they are all some of the best in the series, with the 3rd one being my all time favorite Zelda dungeon. It revolves around these things called Timeshift Stones, which when activated, send the surrounding area back in time about... 100? 1000? years or so. The place is currently in ruins and most of the devices no longer work. Machines start to work again and things that were long dead will spring back to life when inside these fields. (Shouldn't Link technically not exist inside of them since he wouldn't have even been conceived by that point? Meh, he's the chosen one.) There were two types of stones, some of them would activate a field big enough to encompass the entire room, and the others would only affect the area around them. In one scenario, there is a rail system with a timeshift stone in a cart. The rail currently is broken and mostly non existant. Once inside the field, the rail is back on and the cart would start moving. You'd have to follow the cart closely otherwise the rail would disappear (break) once outside of the area. In the same scenario, there are switches that can't be activated unless they are brought back to the past. I really wish the boss revolved around this timeshift idea, but sadly it did not. The timeshift idea is used again later in the game, but not quite as awesome as this dungeon showcased it. Though there is a stone later on that you can carry around with you, not in your inventory though, which is good.

There's an item upgrade system in place, which was never in Zelda till now. I was a bit apprehensive about this feature at first, specifically when I saw that it revolves around collecting items from killing enemies or found in the field. Luckily it is handled well and none of the upgrades are required. For shields, it simply adds to their durability, but for other items, it adds on new functionality. For example, with the Beetle, it adds on a burst speed option. You really only need (or will want) to upgrade what you'd use a lot. Speaking of items, Skyward Sword had no useless items this time around. All the item's usefulness are shuffled around as you move on, some puzzles and situations requiring more than one of them. Using and switching them is simple and fast, and designed around the fact that you'd be switching them out a lot. Another feature I thought was for the better was limited inventory space. Link has an item belt that can only hold 4 items initially, but can be expanded to 8. This belt holds things like bottles, shields, and crests, which would alter things like being able to get more rupees.

Of course, there were things that I felt were less than stellar. The biggest complaint had to be the fetch quests that seemed to be there for no reason other than to pad the time. There's quite a few of them and a lot of them don't necessarily feel bad since there are usually some nifty scenarios based around them. A few of these shouldn't have been there, specifically some of the events just before the first flame. That was the only part where I felt the game dragged on. Luckily the dungeon and boss afterward is awesome. The game really didn't need this time padding at all, even without these, it would still have over 30 hours. I put in 52 and did nearly everything.

It's nice that this game is helpful, however, this game can be too helpful at times. There are about 3 different ways to get hints. There's the Sheikah stone in Skyloft which will literally show you how to solve something with a video. I never once talked to this stone till the end of the game, out of curiousity. It isn't necessarily bad I suppose. There's a fortune teller who will tell you where to go next if you need. Then there's Fi, who is... annoying. Not the voice, simply the amount of times she wishes to inform you of something obvious. She's basically an faq with a hint system as well. Others have said that her hints start out subtle then get more obvious. I didn't ever use it, so I can't confirm that. None of these things are bad however, because they can be ignored. Though I wonder if all this 'Superguide' stuff Nintendo has been putting in their games lately is worth it as far as development time goes.

No no, what I found annoying was when Fi would pop out of the sword and inform me of something, as stated above, obvious. Here's an example, the dungeon maps show you where chests are and the boss. There's no compass this time around, which I find was better. This map system (which is was improved in this game) has been in every Zelda game. In this, she can mark something of importance on the map with an X. During one such time, she marked an X on the boss room, telling me that something important is in there. But wait, the boss room is ALREADY MARKED BY THE MAP WITH A GIANT FLAME! This was pointless. There are other times when she stops you in front of a boss door and will say something along the lines of "This door is sealed shut, something important is behind it." This happens on two occasions, one of them are in the situation with the map above. There are quite a few times that obvious things are spelled out for the player. This is rather insulting honestly. Does Nintendo really think their player base is this stupid? I completed the Water Temple when I was 13, as did many others, some younger. I'm sure their player base, which is aging I might add, can figure things out for themselves. The issue is the players aren't that stupid as to need all this. The game does an amazing job of teaching you how to play it through both explanation and conveyance. The level design on its own typically leads you to what you need to do. Observation has always been a big thing in Zelda, I don't understand why they need to point things out for us in this game.

Okay okay, gaming has become main stream now and you need to open up to a larger audience to market it more. I'm going to be selfish here and say fuck them. If the end user doesn't get it, they can piss off. Why must everything be dumbed down so much? There's already a bunch of hint systems in the game, why must there be all this stuff being thrown in my face? I'd be okay with it if it was to add to the narrative, but it didn't. It's simply there to tell me that I'm dumb and will definitely need to have my hand held by the master that is Nintendo.

Now that I think about it, there's a part in DT3 where I explain how water works in the game. I'm taking this out. The first time you go in water, I'm sure you'll figure out that something is different. DT3 explains things a lot more than DT1 and 2 did. Even though it's a direct sequel, I treat the gameplay introduction as if someone were playing it for the first time. As far as how detailed the explanations are, whether they are too much or not, I'll see when I release the demo, and will of course change things based on the feedback I get throughout development.

So yeah, Skyward Sword is amazing though and I highly recommend that you play it if you own a Wii. I hate scores, so I'm not going to give one. Dumbing down a large creative work into a single digit feels very insulting to the people behind it. I'm not saying review scores need to go away, but the only thing they are good for, to me, is categorizing things. If I read a few reviews by people that I trust and they give something a 9/10, and nearly everyone else does as well, I can probably tell what they'll say and what the quality of the game is. Even so, screw review scores... bleh, okay, so some people might want one. I give Skyward Sword a 983720, though I forgot what the scaling was. Oh and I took off a few points due to the above infractions.


Stupid Villains

Edit: (December 1, 2011) I'm not dead, just busy. There will be a post sometime this week most likely, then I'll probably have a game review post after. It won't be a rant post like this one though. The views to the blog have gone up a bit this month as well... even though I said I'd probably be away for most of it. I did notice activity/discussion about the first game picking up a little on various forums. I'm seeing a lot of traffic from fusionfangaming.

There are certain types of villains that I really really hate. I mean HATE! Not from a, "I want to hurt this guy because he's evil" type of hate, but a "I want to hurt this guy because he's completely illogical and impractical in every way and would never have succeeded at this or come even close to this by employing these methods" type of hate. I could talk about a lot of the villain stereotypes and tropes out there, but there is one in particular that has REALLY been bugging me as of late as it has come up quite often these days.

We need a new paragraph to talk about this.

Maybe even a second one. The villain behavior I'm talking about is the one where they kill off their own henchmen when one makes either a mistake, or fails to succeed because the protagonist did something to thwart this minion's efforts. WHY DO THEY DO THIS!? Is it to show how evil they are and that they're just THAT confident with themselves and believe that they can't lose? If that was the case, then why do so many villains do this? It's completely illogical. Most of the time, the minion didn't even do anything wrong, yet the villain is just ready to kill off a highly trained, and loyal follower over a slight mishap. AND THEY WONDER WHY THEY LOSE! The protagonist is already offing their minions for them, (Or rendering them useless in some way.) and the villain is only assisting them by removing his own staff, which is necessary manpower since the protagonist has plot armor. That's powerful stuff.

This also assumes that all henchmen are mindless idiots who follow blindly. That doesn't happen in real IRL. No one keeps followers with methods like these. The minions would unionize or revolt. Seriously, if my manager at work killed a coworker (even one), I can guarantee you 100% that none of us would be working for him. We'll pretend, for this, that the manager could get away with it. You still have the other workers in this scenario, so legalities don't even have to be a part of this scenario.

This angers the logistical side of my brain so much. If there are any writers reading this, I ask you to please PLEASE stop writing these types of villains unless it actually makes sense with the villain him/her/itself, or to speak an important point about the character to the viewer. One that actually has an impact on the viewer. The only thing this serves in 99.99% of media with these types of villains is to make everyone double facepalm at the sheer stupidity that it is.

One of the only characters where this villain type made sense was Kefka from FF6. (If you haven't played Final Fantasy 6, then go get it right now from one of the many many available ports of it. Emulate (Yes I did suggest it (Hell yes triple parenthesis)) it if you have to, every gamer that even slightly likes RPGs should play it.) [/rant] The theme of FF6 was life itself, how appropriate is it that the villain represents the antithesis to that.

Other Stuff
Slaix reported no issues with the last update I sent him. I'm pretty sure that's a first, or at least the first I'm remembering at this time. This is awesome because it means I don't have to stop to fix bugs and it means, you know, things are getting better. He also got a power up (a heart piece) before I was able to get it. (I mean legit anyway.)

TWO MORE DAYS TILL SKYWARD SWORD!! Though I won't be able to play it till Monday, so busy. D:

Also the above rant came about when Jeremy and I were watching something and the above mentioned villain type was prominent in this viewing and I ranted. So he abruptly (and jokingly) said, "Go blog about it." So I did!

P.S. The villain in DT3 does not do the above.


More Delays

Due to me working full time (well that's normal) on top of working with a studio in Austin on an unannounced title, I won't be having much time for hobby activities. Plus on the 20th, Skyward Sword is released. :P
DT3's production is going on hiatus for a little bit longer till the middle of December when a few things die down. As before, things will still be done periodically, just very slow.

On the bright side, Chapter 5 is done. Yay! 5/21 chapters complete. Not even a third of the way there and the testers and myself have put in on average of about 3 hours of gameplay.

Spikes come in many forms.

Now comes Claire's first big moment in DT3. Her first Gate level is definitely harder than Jerry's first exclusive Gate. This is the last (consistent) moment in DT3 without dashing, so that aspect will be used against you a lot. The first half of Gate 3 plays very close to the original Castlevania style of linear levels, while the second half of it gears slightly more toward the more recent Castlevania games. Though I'm going to steer clear of the thing I hate about them, which is having to traverse half way back across the game world to get an ability in order to move on, and repeat.


101 Bastards

Edit: (November 6, 2011) I completely forgot it was the end of daylight savings time until I randomly looked at my calendar to visually see the days remaining till Skyward Sword. 2 weeks! Then saw the 6th said it. Good thing to because I would've gone into work an hour early because of that. (It's 4:21 in the morning.) Nothing better to do at this hour than come on here and talk random gibberish about nothing for a few minutes before working on DT3 for a bit. There's no way I'm getting back to sleep now. Already ate breakfast and was ready to head out before Zelda saved me an hour.

This post is a very simple one, it's simply to say to get Stealth Bastard. It's awesome and free. It's an action oriented stealth game and really well made. GET IT NOW!!

NO!! Stop what you're doing, do not click the x to go away, DOWNLOAD THIS GAME RIGHT NOW AND PLAY IT!!

What are you doing? Why are you still reading this and not playing the game? Oh right... You're downloading it right now while you read the rest of this. That's a clever idea, I'm glad you thought to do that. It'll finish soon... your download that is, and then you'll be ready to play something awesome. Unless you're on dial up, that would suck, cause you'd be waiting awhile.

For now, I must head off to dream land. I would've posted this earlier today, but blogger wasn't loading the post page. So here it is. :D Why aren't you playing it yet? And why aren't YOU downloading it yet? Yes you. You know who you are!


100th Post Anniversary

Edit: (November 2, 2011) Huge derp on my end. Can't believe I didn't have this in the original post.

Happy Halloween everyone! :D

Now for the best halloween song. Hope everyone had a fun one this year. We'll need to next year, cause it will be our last. Remember, the world ends in 2012 which means... hmm, DT3 is released in 2013. This is indeed a problem.

You've read it right, this is the 100th post for the DT blog. Something special needs to be done... well... I don't have much prepared to make it all that special. I'd love to release a demo, but I wanted to release a sizable portion of the game. You've heard it already, just the first 3 gates. Well let's continue on with the blog post and see where it goes.

Split Party
We'll start with a screenshot.

Look out Claire.

I was tempted to not give any context behind this shot. I know that some of you are probably thinking multiplayer, but that is not what this is eluding to. There are times in the game where Jerry and Claire will split off and the normal swap rules will change. When swapped, the character you're controlling will stay where they are (even in the air) and will get a bubble shield that blocks nearly all enemy projectiles. These will be more puzzle driven than anything else. The first instance of this is really straight forward and just introducing its new concepts. Once the characters get more of their unique abilities like Claire's morph ball, that puzzle aspect will open up a lot more. These will obviously only be encountered on non-gate chapters, the first of which will occur in the middle of chapter 5. (Which of course means using Claire without offensive abilities. No worries, I'm not that mean with this aspect.) Expect this to appear periodically throughout the main quest.

Chapter 6 (Castlevania gate) is almost ready to be started for actual level design work now. Since there's no dashing in the game till just after the gate, it's going to follow closer to the earlier Castlevania games in every aspect. It's still going to play faster than those since Claire moves faster and isn't stuck in a jump direction till she lands.
Note to my testers: (Even though I can tell them without this.) The early bosses in this zone are not going to follow the pattern that the early Gate 2 bosses did. Aside from the last one in Gate 2, which is a new boss, the others are all taken directly from Zelda 2 and are hilariously easy. There are very minor changes done to them to boost their difficulty, though it doesn't help them much considering Jerry is faster, jumps higher with more control, and has a much larger attack range. On a side note (within the note?), that range might change a little bit.

WHY IS IT GETTING COLD!? I hate winter.

Collision Fix
Remember in DT1 that you could jump on top of the map? Then in DT2, I fixed that. I'm sure some of you have noticed in both DT1 and 2, that you could do the same for the bottom, if you time it right, you can actually air dash under the level and even save yourself with Blast Off if timed right. You can even go around obstacles if the dash gets you far enough. Granted, that took pixel perfect precision to pull off without the game detecting you were under the level boundaries, it still creates weird design problems and feels sloppy. So that is fixed in DT3. Any future updates to DT1 and 2 will have this fixed as well. It's literally a 2 line piece of code to fix this. The top of the level deal will not be changed in DT1 as it was part of the level design.

Cancelled Secret
I was going to release a secret demo that had various enclosed scenarios in DT3. Like those Zelda demos that allow you to choose a dungeon, boss, and misc. scenario. Since we're getting close to the full demo that I actually want to release and considering the areas that are available, I don't truly feel are ready for viewing. I figured I'd not spend the time to put that secret demo together and use that time towards more actual DT development. It was going to be a url scavenger hunt much like those web-based puzzles. That other demo is, hopefully, only 2 months away.

Other Random Things
I'm not using the Mega Man 2 Wily theme anywhere. :P

DT3 has some new fun enemy types, such as healers. If a healer is in the area, they can be called out to by allies of the same affiliation as the healer. (So you won't have Wily type enemies healing Mario type) There are other assist types as well, such as one that will create barriers around targets that you're attacking. An enemy will give out a visual indicator saying that they are calling out for assistance. These new enemy types, I feel,  create more dynamic scenarios that require a lot more thought on the player end. Their first occurance will be in Chapter 7.

These call outs are also global, an assist bot can be called out to by any enemy of the same affiliation. Some of the more advanced healers are also fully aware of ally HP levels and will heal by priority. The HP levels themselves are not the only factor in this, as some of their allies are viewed as being 'worth more' and will give them priority assistance.


Lots of Fun

Edit: (October 27, 2011) Just want to let everyone know that I'm not dead. Everything is going great. As I said, not much work was done on DT3 between now and this original post, but November will speed it up... until the 20th when Skyward Sword comes out. I'm going to be playing the hell out of that. And we're lucky I'm not getting Saints Row 3 when it comes out. I could play that game forever. Anyway, I'll make a new post in a few days, talking about some new stuff for DT3.

Well GDC was tons of fun and awesome. Always a great experience with great people that generates a lot of fun memories and stories to tell. I didn't attend any talks this year though since I was working at the IGDA booth on the expo floor... that's as far as I'll go with my stories though. Oh wait, business is good.

Production will still be at a stand still as I'll be out of town for a few days again and after I return, I'll be fairly busy. I'm foreseeing DT3 being put on hold till about early November, though I'll be able to devote a bit of time to it here and there, just not much. I only announce it so if you're following close to check out the demo of the first 3 Gates, you know what the hold up is. Oh, and to say that this will be the last post this month, so check back in November.

As far as DT3 stuff goes, there's not much I want to report on it. The enemy scan window now shows the maximum amount of money that can be dropped. And... that's all I want to say at this time. :P
Yeah, check back early November and till then, have fun. Also a new My Little Pony episode is airing today.

Another Game Recommendation
I recently found out about an interesting game called Descend the Beat. I like to describe it as a musical puzzle game, not to be confused with a rhythm game. I got a chance to play it during a launch party at GDC and had quite a bit of fun with it. Of course since it's somewhat of a musical game, it's got a sweet awesome sweet soundtrack. If you like fun, upbeat music, and puzzle games with a lot of depth, definitely check this game out.

The interface and controls are intuitive and easy to grasp. You have a 5 by 5 tiled board and blocks are thrown at these 25 spots on the board at varying speeds. When they're on the board, you can move the blocks in 4 directions. (90 degrees) However, each of the blocks can only be moved a certain number of times, which is marked in different ways depending on the current block (graphic) style. The objective is to fill an entire row (Tetris style) to clear it. If the blocks stack up to the 8th row, you lose. Pretty simple concept to grasp, but there are a few other nuances. When you move a block, it slides till it either falls down from its current row, hits the edge of the board, or another block. If you move a block that has others stacked on top of it, the entire stack is moved and if it falls or hits the edge of other block or stack of blocks, all but the bottom block will continue on.

There are a few game modes such as; A Tetris like Arcade mode where you play till you lose. A challenge mode with a number of challenges each with specific goals that slightly change a few gameplay aspects. (I was able to beat one of their harder ones at the launch party and got a t-shirt for it!) Then an expansive puzzle mode that starts to get incredibly deep. The idea being to get rid of all the blocks, no new ones fall.


A Week of Absence

Edit: (October 9, 2011) On the subject on enemies dropping currency in DT3. It is handled differently. DT3 doesn't have the boost from chains, that is now being used for drop rate of any item. Each enemy does have a difference in the amount they can drop, but there are a few new nuances. If an enemy can only drop Green(1), then that's all they'll ever be able to drop. If they can drop up to a Blue(5), then they have a 70% chance to drop the bigger amount, however, there is another clause involved. Blues will never drop if your kill chain is not at least at 3. The same thing occurs for bigger coins as well. It goes through the same process, but slightly different. If they are designated to drop a Yellow(10), then greens are dropped until a chain of 3, where blues will start to show up and once the chain has reached 5, the yellow will appear at a 70% rate. For Red(20), which is the highest in DT3, you'll need a chain of 8.

In the case of a yellow potentially showing up and that 70% not going through, it filters down to the blue chance, then of course if that doesn't go through because you're just that unlucky, the green will pop up. That 70% can be boosted up to 80% from the skill tree and even further with items. (Up to 95%)

Next week I'll be away as GDC Online will be happening. Well not really away, the Austin Convention Center is no more than 10 minutes away from where I live. When that's over, I'll be out of town for a few days. Got a busy week ahead of me.

I'll leave behind a screenshot of course.

Countdown of doom.

Yeah, that's a boss' life meter and that's also a countdown. You get 2 minutes to finish this little encounter. Most of it consists of you protecting that little bot there so it clears a path for you to damage the actual boss, which is currently off-screen. You'll be needing to manage all the things that the boss summons up, otherwise you'll find your bot being destroyed by enemy fire. Time is of the essence in this encounter and you can only afford a few mistakes before the countdown becomes a bigger threat than the projectiles. This is the first boss encounter in DT3 that doesn't lock the camera in place.

A good 1/3 of Chapter 5 is now finished. The next part includes some looking around in Central City, involving getting to know how it works, and story elements. Then of course the search for Gate 3 in DT3's massive world.



Edit: (October 6, 2011) Hmm, even my deaths are pretty high in my pseudo playthrough. Just after Ch.4.
Gyazo link to my failures (Can't direct link to gyazo anymore. We be stealin their internetz too much.)

Hard at work on Chapter 5 now. It will reintroduce some concepts from DT1 and bring in new puzzle ideas that will recur throughout more than just Chapter 5. Unlike DT1 where I said all the different platforming elements would... wait, this is the first paragraph, I'm breaking protocol here. The post title is an inside joke word that I highly doubt anyone who plays this would get. If the ones who are in on the word do come here, I'd be shocked and amazed... somewhat... maybe, I don't know. Anyway, I'm hungry so I'm going to end the post here and go eat.

Damn it! I didn't go eat and now I'm still hungry and posting here. Okay, time to continue on where I was... aaand I lost my place, so lets start again. Hard at work on Chapter 5 now. It will reintroduce some concepts from DT1 and bring in new puzzle ideas that will recur throughout more than just Chapter 5. Unlike DT1 where I said all the different platforming/game elements would come together and they really didn't, only half way, sorta, but not really. This time they actually will. But that's not the tangent I was wanting to go on. Wow this post is a cluster of bad in every way, so here's a screenshot.

Guess the game this is from... It's Drill Dozer! So have you guessed yet?

About 1/3 or so of Chapter 5 is spent in that place. The rest is a huge mess of story telling and the player getting lost for the first time in the expanding DT3 main world. Finding secrets and hidden power ups all over the place and then getting lost some more. Possibly seeing Game Over from spikes or attempting to fight things that they shouldn't be messing with. Remember, running away and alternate paths IS an option.

Anyway, I've gone on with random stuff for too long on this post and I'm still hungry so it's time to go fix that with whatever I find...


Laundry Effects

Another Edit: (October 1, 2011) I derped below on what combat awards do. Currently hit combos and streaks don't offer anything, but chains still give an award. DT1 would cause enemies to drop more money with higher chains. In DT3, they cause the drop rate of anything to boost. Currently the boost is (chain*0.75)% for the drop chance, and will take effect when you have a chain of 2 or higher.

Edit: (October 1, 2011) Wow, it's October already. Time is flying! Just updating with a bit about how hit combos, killing chains, and killing sprees work in DT3... The same. Except, as of this moment, they don't offer any gameplay bonuses. The voices are gone and the screen alerts are minimal, which can still be turned off. They are more, at this time, for the player to use for themselves. There's still records kept about highest on these. Killing sprees have been renamed to 'Streaks'. Here's a screenshot with their on-screen display at this time.

Yes, that is Comic Sans, piss off, it's a nice font. :P

Edit: (September 30, 2011) September just barely took the lead for second most blog views in one month. Still no contender for first though. December 2010 made quite a jump in views. :P

I'm in the middle of laundry, hence the post title.

Gate 2 is finished, and one tester has it at the moment, to find all my mistakes and derps. Going to be adding more effects before I start work on chapter 5, as well as some maintenance and touch ups to things.

If you look at the side, you'll notice that I've added a dropbox download link for both games. I should've done that months ago. No ads, no wait times. I'm big on the 'no ads' part of that. The other download locations have been left intact in case that is your preferred method or you're unable to download from dropbox.

Next Chapter
Chapter 5 is the first non-gate chapter with a decent amount of content (more than 10 minutes worth) and where the story elements pick up even more. If you don't care for the story or dialogue, DT3 has the cut-scene skip feature that DT2 did. 99% of the cut-scenes are skippable. (That's a word because I said so, piss off spell-check.) There are only a small handful of extremely short sequences that can't be skipped.

Just a small post.


Desktop Travesties

Edit: (September 27, 2011) While this won't really change anything, DT3 can run up to 70 fps. Huge improvement over DT1, which only managed to reach 50. As I said way back, DT3 will remain running at 30, though this does mean that I don't foresee lag ever being an issue. This 70 was reached on a busy map with a moderate amount of effects and particles. On the particles note, DT3 will not be using GM's particle system at all. Most of the effects weren't using them anyway and I have more control doing particle effects my own way. Anyway, yeah, I can go nuts on visuals without any worry on frame rate it seems. The sprite rendering speed boost in GM8.1 combined with all the work to optimize the balls out of the DT engine seems to be a nice mix.

So I saw this weird Desktop Ponies thing. I knew right away what it was and ignored it. Weeks later, I was linked to it... again. So I thought, I wonder what coding and level building in DT would be like if I had a few ponies running around. And how long could I stand it before I go crazy. It went fine at first, I only had 3 various ponies running about, doing their thing on my computer. And then... it started, the thing I knew would happen. Without fail, 1 or 2 of these ponies would always come check out what I'm doing... ALWAYS. I'm trying to do something in the map editor, BAM, they're curious! I'm trying to code, BAM, so are they! They always found it humorous to go right where I'm working!

This is the usual trolling they like to do.

I figured, hey, I'll just have 1 running about, but that just hurt my conscience. The pony was so lonely on the screen. They seem to leave me alone when they're alone... sad and alone in their corner with no friends. I had to give them a friend. BIG mistake, they get mischievous around others. Friendship is getting in my damn way! They had to go...

Oh, Another LP
I found another LP of the game of someone going through it on Distorted. I don't know how much of it he's going to actually do, but we'll see. It's all in German, which I can't read. Though after viewing his channel and translating a few things, it seems this guy almost always does LPs of games on their hardest setting. He also seems to approach DT the same way people do with IWBTG, in that he doesn't cut any footage, at least from what I've seen. Every attempt and every death are shown. He's also voice translating the dialogue as he goes, which is nifty. Another thing to note is he has a second commentator. Hmm, I like the idea of a second person voice commenting. Oh if only I could understand German. :P

Fun fact: I lived in Germany way way way back in my single digit age years. My parents were stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base.

Anyway, you can check it out here.
LudorExperiens Youtube Channel

I do believe production speed will pick up now. Normally I'd have been able to finish Gate 2 like... at the beginning of the month, but it's been so busy. Gate 2 should be done by this Tuesday, not that it matters for you guys yet. :P  It does get my testers excited. A few have already made a run through about 3/4 of Gate 2. I was nice on enemy design and kept the nasty ones out of Gate 2. We'll leave that for Claire in Gate 3. She gets the bad end of the stick in everything... no really, she does. I don't mean to do it, it just happens that way. It's some subconscious scorn for women I think. Since I'm terrible with women, I just make games instead... hmm...

Remember, when Gate 3 is done and the game has been better tested, I'll be releasing a demo of that content. That's still a ways to go though. My testers are always bouncing ideas to me, things they like, dislike, and are concerned about. Sometime I'm gonna have to discuss with them about how some of the little nuances should work. Once they've been able to see how the mainland gameplay works, we'll have an easier time deciding what's best.


Two More Days

Till Season 2 of what you really don't care about is aired... aside from those of you that do. I think that covers just about everyone right?

Gate 2 (well about 80% of it) was given to Slaix and a new tester, Amatsu. After a few save file compatibility shenanegans, lots of little bugs and mishaps were found. It was a fun evening of throwing newer versions at them every time they found something game breaking. I blame them for saying "Give it to us now!"... or something.

It's looking to be good though. They didn't have any major complaints, despite its incompleteness. (Hey, spell checker says that's a word.) I don't count, "WHY DOES THIS ROOM EXIST?!?!" as complaints. Those are always good signs. They'll have the completed version of Gate 2 hopefully sometime next week. Anyway, I'm sure I had more to post with this one, but I seem to have misplaced my notes... which is unlike me!!

My OCD has been driving me up the wall these last 2 weeks. I can usually keep it under control, but my fixations have been overpowering my psyche as of late. I've been working on an outlet for it, so hopefully that helps. Anyway, take care everyone. Oh... I just had to tell my stomach to STFU, so it's probably a good time to act on that.


Water You Doing

Edit: (September 13, 2011) I have switched over to GM8.1 now. Everything has been fixed up and it works great. I like all that's been done to it. AND, faster sprite rendering, not that lag has been much of an issue since completing Black Rock on DT1.

That joke sucks and has always sucked. Anyone who uses it sucks too...

So anyway, here's a few things that will be appearing to DT3 to add to your death count. You're all going to love this one.

Oh yeah, DT3 has water. *Everyone screams* There won't be swimming, it's going to take on the standard 2D platformer approach. It works much like Super Metroid, except it doesn't slow you down THAT much. Your movement underwater is limited though, and your dashes are useless for any momentum boosts. The air dash gives you some decent momentum, but your ground dash is almost literally a dash in place. It doesn't negate the invincibility frames. When you're underwater, you can drown. The moment you submerge, a breath meter will be displayed and of course depletes. Bringing your head above water does the intended effect of returning air to you. That leads me to a few small nuances. If you're running or ducking, your head is underwater, which means it will take away air. :P As for when water will start to take effect on your movement, it needs to be roughly 13 pixels up from Jerry's feet. My roommate, Jerry no doubt, says he wants me to put in splashes if you're running through water. (A different effect when it's at your feet, but not affecting your mobility.) Not sure if I'm going into THAT much detail, but we'll see. :3 Aesthetics like that can wait for now as it doesn't add anything to gameplay. (Derp, I add stuff like that all the time, I really can use that argument.)

Oh no, water levels.

Water can also change height. In fact, there is an entire dungeon based around changing water levels to get around. Water affects more than just you. Platforms will float and have a bit of buoyancy, your bombs will fizzle out. Some enemies need water, so if you empty the room, they just flop about like fish on... ugh nevermind. Others can skid along the top of water. There's a few other deally bobs going on with water that you're just gonna have to find out on your own when the time comes.

Gate 2 is getting closer and closer for my testers to try their hooves, err hands at it. Looking forward to that feedback and all the crazy bugs they're going to send me.

More Info Supplied To You

The new values on the right side display an ability's stun power. This is more meta gaming stuff for people. When scanning an enemy, you can now see their stun resist. It's very simple math for this.
BaseAbilityStun - EnemyStunResist = Frames the enemy is stunned
(Those are not the variable names.)
There's a few other small things factored into it like skills and equipment. This new way of handling enemy flinch times helps balance out your close and ranged abilities. The X-Buster only has a stun power of 1. Many of the enemies, specifically robots have a stun resist of 1-3, which will completely nullify stun. Even without using various equipment combinations, I've seen some nifty stun lock methods.

DT1&2 handled stun in a different way. It was based on the percentage of damage you dealt to the enemy's max HP, which really doesn't work all that well in retrospect. Not with the numbers I used anyway. These two games also reset the stun counter on every hit. In DT3, it is continually added on, making it even more possible to stun lock.

But again, the rest is really up to how you want to play, this stun info is ultimately useless outside of meta gaming. I'd rather have stun time be somewhat transparent/ignored like it was in DT1&2. It's simply part of the flow of the game. I provide this info ingame for everyone because of feedback that I've gotten from DT1&2. A lot of people wanted to see these kinds of things and here it is.

Game Maker 8.0 to 8.1
I am still using version 8.0. I have 8.1, but remember way way back when I said it was having problems? Well it seems all this has been fixed according to the internet. I'll be getting my 8.1 copy updated to the most recent version and testing all that. If I see that everything is in order, I'll start DT3 development in 8.1, which will speed things up. Last time I tried 8.1, it flipped out at all my extensions as well as the fonts and a few other small things. o_O


A New Month, A New... whatever

Edit: (Same Day) A review of the game was posted here just today. I was asked a few interview questions to go alongside the review found here.

His review style reminds me of something, I can't remember what it was, so... Instead of explaining his review style, just go see, I usually do a terrible job of explaining anyway. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, what would that make videos? o_O Anyway, here's a link to his review site as well.

I noticed that last month, (August) the blog got the second highest view count in its life time. It's been going up ever since April this year, which is right when DT3 was officially announced. No surprise there. March actually got the second lowest since creation and then BAM it spiked back up. The highest month was December last year, right after DT1 was released. Actually it was released early November and the view count nearly doubled... oh well. April and May this year got the exact same view count with June only 2 views higher. o_O That's... special. If you know blogger well enough I'm sure some of you can figure out how to view this stuff yourself, but I won't be saying the actual view count. :P It's really not that high, though admittedly higher than I thought considering I really don't advertise this game anywhere.

Anyway, enough with boring logistics. DT3 will make gameplay throw-backs and references to both previous games. I found one usable reference perfect for a certain desert road in Gate 2. You know what I'm talking about most likely. :3 Except this time, retribution is possible. Hard, but possible. I'm sure many of you want it after that part.

Zelda 2 Exploit
If you remember back to Zelda 2, you could get into encounters on the map right on an event spot. This would cause you to spawn back in on it, which would allow you to skip over it. When I was doing a no continue run of the game, (and was successful) I exploited that little trick in various parts. (Mainly the road to the Great Temple) Anyway, this trick was going to be available for DT3's Gate 2, and it was originally coded that way. I decided to change that, it's not longer an exploit. In the event of you going over an event spot and an encounter at the same time, the event takes priority.

A few reasons for this. I really don't want you guys 'cheating' over these things. The event maps are designed for specific reasons. Throw-backs, to teach the player about a certain game mechanic through visual cues. (And to build the death counter of course. It's a sign of how manly you are.) The biggest reason are the hidden maps. They're pretty easy and usually obvious to find, but on that rare occasion for the two that I don't think are as obvious, I don't want the player running over it and getting into an encounter, then thinking nothing of it, and not double checking. (I'm glad there's no grammar or run-on sentence checker/auto-correct.) (wtf 'autocorrect' is too a word!!) That and I really don't want the exploit in there, that's really the bottom line. :P

More Exploits, but not really
I doesn't mean I won't be leaving in small non-game breaking exploits, they'll be there for fun for you guys to find. There is one actual game breaking exploit that I purposefully left in the game. The exploit came about through a design oversight with how one of the levels were built. I found it funnier to just leave it in and have a comment about cheating. (Of course the game fixes up the problems caused after you do so.) I'm going to try and put in little easter eggs like this whenever I can. Normally I'd go eww at the idea of breaking immersion but... well yeah...


Long Awaited

Just a short post to say that there is a video of DT3 content up now. Some of it is a work in progress, but a lot of people have been wanting to at least see SOMETHING. So here we are, a ponyless post finally.

Here or look below. There's Goomba stomping action and some other stuff!

Oh wow, I just realized that this blog account is connected to my youtube account.


Water Bottles

Edit: (August 28, 2011) Haven't done an edit update in over a month. These will be pretty rare now it seems. Anyway... Yep. (No it's not a screenshot.)

I'm not dead, I simply had my birthday on the 22nd... which doesn't really mean anything for this blog or delays or lack of delays in posts. It was fun, with lots of cake eating. On an unrelated note, the update coming to Lineage 2 this fall has me wishing I still played the game. (Not really.) But the content sounds pretty awesome. Lineage 2, to me, is actually a really bad game, just with an awesome atmosphere, and a game world that isn't watered down for the masses. Mainly the open world pvp and how unforgiving it is with that aspect. The soon to be applied update seems to encourage more of this pvp. Hopefully the world of Lineage 2 becomes a crazy war zone... More than it was before. On yet another unrelated note, the magic of friendship returns on Sept. 17th. And you guys thought the ponies would end. :P

Gate Design Magic
Like I did with Gate 1, roughly the first 1/3 to 1/2 of it was trying to stick closer to how the original would set up their levels. It worked out really well for Mario levels. Straight up platforming translates well regardless of the previously mentioned sprite size differences. For this Zelda 2 clone, (at least for the first part) it didn't go as smoothly. The biggest difference is Zelda 2 is not really a platformer. Practically all of its difficulty comes from the enemy encounters. DT and Zelda 2 do not play at all alike, their combat is radically different. With my enemy choice, this made the first dungeon in Gate 2 laughably easy. It actually works out well as a tutorial level for the basics of combat in DT3. (Hit the attack button.) But it lets the player understand the nuances of it at that level. Of course it will continue to evolve...

Like DT1, this will eventually bring back air dash chains and like DT1, they will be required. Staggering your aerial momentum will still be a part of combat. Just not in Gate 2. And of course more refined and less clunky than DT1.

On an ending note, a lot of content was completed.


A Blurb

What the hell you guys? Play Catherine, I know all of you have been avoiding it! :P

So I play Spiral Knights from time to time and every time there's an update to the game, there's a bug fix hours later. EVERY time. Sometimes a secondary bug fix a day later. Seriously, they break half their game with every update. (That's only a slight exaggeration.) So the other day, I came across an interesting bug. Suddenly my shield stopped working. It just... stopped working. Not just mine, but the entire party's shields stopped working. I've heard that this is in response to players setting up anchor points for the arena levels and repeating them for easy money, however, this was a normal run that wasn't anchored... so wtf? The shields remained broken for the remainder of the dungeon run. I tried their pvp, but often times I'm fighting with the latency more than I am other players, so that's a no go. I think I've found a group of devs that are just as bad, if not worse, programmers than I am. I think that's an achievement there. If you ever want to play with me, my in game name is 'Zephyrcrash'. My time that I play is typically between 6pm - 9pm. I don't play it very often though. If you do send me a friend request, be sure to put a message with the request, just something so I know you're from here. For some reason people like to send random friend requests in that game. I delete these, so if there's no context to the request, it'll just be ignored.

Design Issues
A problem that came up with DT1 and again with DT3 is using tilesets and level ideas from games where the world is scaled down to fit to the character sprite size. To explain, Mario and Link's sprite size in their NES games are 16x32 pixels. The enemies and levels in those games were designed with that in mind. Jerry is 24x52. This becomes a design issue very fast. Now his actual collision (remember, world collision and hit detection for damage are different) is a bit smaller than that, but still much bigger by comparison to the worlds that I'm mimicking. The other MAJOR difference here is the jump height in relation to their sprite height. During this explanation, we're going to always assume Mario is big. From a standing position, Mario jumps at about 64 pixels (4 tiles), which is twice his sprite height. Jerry jumps about 72 pixels high (4 1/2), which isn't even close to twice his sprite height. (38% of his sprite height) Now later on in DT3, you'll be getting a jump boost that will let Jerry jump to about 88 pixels (5 1/2). Roughly the height that Claire jumped in DT2. And yes, I did just give away that you'll be getting a more powerful jump later on. This is closer to Mario's jump height to sprite height ratio. (69% of the sprite height)

This presented a few challenges and is one of the major reasons why I don't have the AI mimic their original source perfectly. And why Bullet Bill Blasters are often a bit taller than normal, so Jerry can duck under them more often, rather than being forced to jump over them every time.

Nearly every choice is deliberate. (I admit, I'm a bit haphazard with a few things, but I'm trying to cut that way down with DT3.) As I was telling Slaix earlier, the HP values in DT3 are set for very specific reasons. Such as an enemy that has 105 HP as opposed to 110. The player's damage output is much easier for me to predict this time around, especially during the first half when they don't have access to many damage boosters. The base damage for Link's Master Sword in Gate 2 is 100. The Master Sword gains a base of 5 power per level up. After that first level, those with 105 will only take 1 hit instead of 2. This means the player will only have to (theoretically) stay around that enemy for half the time. The longer the player is fighting an enemy, the longer it is a threat, or more specifically, the bigger the threat that the level design presents.

This is also why I went with fixed damage modifiers for weaknesses and resistances. Not only is it easier to understand on the player side, but it's easier to design around and for me, just flows better.

Wall of text!!
Here, we need an image to offset this... at the end of it!



It's kinda relevant since I'm still making the Zelda gate.

So suddenly I've gotten a spike in downloads and page views. Hooray for being able to view sources. The most notable is Fusion Fan Gaming...
And from two trailer videos for DT1 and DT2, by Hadriex.
I really really like the one for DT2 as the death count increase starts to rise very fast after awhile. It's a death montage, pretty much summarizes a player's experience after awhile.
I wanna give thanks and a thumbs up for making those. I still get this weird surreal feeling when seeing stuff people make based off DT.

I also wanna say hi to all of you coming in from Fusion Gaming, I see you. O_O
I've actually been somewhat following the Mario Fusion game for awhile. I don't remember how I stumbled upon it. It is definitely an interesting and very ambitious project. I've never voiced a suggestion for it before this, so if anyone from the dev team is reading this, I would love leader boards. That would be awesome! See Super Meat Boy for what I envision there.

The funniest source is from a video porn site, I didn't backtrack it to see how it was linked to this blog (I'm always afraid of possible spyware and viruses, plus porn is bleh to me. Suggestive is awesome though. :P), but I did giggle.

Again, I'm not saying much about DT3... well nothing at all. I will get a video up sometime though. NO, I'm not setting a target date for it! You guys know I can (almost) never honor the days I set for releases of things.

Okay, why not? Since you ask, here's a screenshot. :D

Castlevania tiles.

Oh yeah, not that it matters for anyone in the long run, but development will stop until near the end of August. Gonna be busy with life... again. :( Well, it does matter for those that are testing the various sections of the game... like Slaix. Yes, you have to wait even longer to test Gate 2! :D I'll try and make a map every other day or so. :P

I think this post wins on smiley count.


Alundra was a Cool Game

So I had this awesome dream the other day that I can recall really well. It had to do with ponies. Yeah I know, most of you are probably going, "STOP TALKING ABOUT F$&#ING PONIES!!" The dream actually has about 5% to do with them, the rest... well read on if you don't mind my nonsense.

The Dream
Me and my brother (I know, 'My brother and I', but I like the way the other sounds. Take THAT grammar!) were watching TV and it happened to be the first episode of season 2 of My Little Pony. (My brother refuses to watch the show irl.) Now to set things up a little more, it is well known in this dream that Pinkie Pie died either at the end of season 1 or in between seasons, this will come back into the story later. So we're watching the episode and it starts off with a camera shot panning across this huge windowed corporate building. All is quiet, but there's a large machine inside, that isn't running, with a cupcake symbol on it.
It then cut to a scene at night on a deserted city highway with a hooded figure trying to get away, on a bike, from three mice on bikes. The setting gave me a post-apocalyptic vibe. It's a normal action packed chase scene, they're lobbing grenades and other weaponry at the hooded person. At one point, he looks over at the mice and hurls a lightning bolt, knocking one of them off their bikes. Another bit of chase scene later and the two mice that are left, jump off their bikes, which then combine and transform into a humanoid mech with a huge Gatling Gun for a right arm. Which, by the way, is also bad ass. It starts firing this huge ass gun and hits the hooded persons back wheel. He then did a crazy backflip off of the bike and landed on the back of the mech's neck. It was a pretty epic flip. Now remember, it's me and my brother watching this. So I turned to him and said "I really hope this guy pulls out a light saber." I don't really care for Star Wars that much, but I have to admit, that would've been awesome. Instead, the hooded person jabs a wrench or something into the back of its neck and sends a lightning bolt (man this guy likes lightning) through the wrench, then jumps off. This short circuits the mech and it falls over and shuts down. Me and my brother have decided that this hooded guy is pretty bad ass. The two mice approach from behind and jabber on about something that I don't remember. Something about not being able to save their friend, and then run away.

There's something my brother said that I remember would have been humorous, but I don't remember what exactly he said. The scene cuts again to some factory. This is your typical nuclear plant letting off gases type of thing. Again, it's at night, but the sky is overcast with a thick layer of clouds and smog. The camera pans across the factory, at one point, it looked like a hooded figure ran in front of the camera. Looks like our bad ass hero is back. We were expecting more badassery from him and oh did we get some. As the camera is panning, it shows four guards in full body armor patrolling. Think of how the Crimson Lance were geared up from Borderlands. Wait... this is My Little Pony? Anyway, the camera slows down to find the hooded guy looking toward the factory from a nearby cliff. (Wow my subscience sure does like cliche stuff, but at least it was entertaining for me.) He was standing there with a cloak blowing badassly in the wind. That type of scene, and yes, there's that low wind sound alongside this scene. The thing is, the hooded guy from before didn't have a cloak and the hood was clearly a different color. Okay, so now we have two badasses. At least me and my brother were hoping anyway. I had made a comment about how this one wouldn't be as awesome as the one on the highway. I'm quickly proven wrong when the hooded guy kicks something in style (imagine someone doing an awesome kick, idk) and then propels himself at the factory in a burst of light. Whatever the guy kicked at the factory, it smashes into two of the four guards and they're taken out. Oh yeah, they're outside on the building itself, there's a railing. A second after these two are taken out and the other two are alerted, one of them gets bashed into by the hooded guy. He goes flying and the other guard left starts shooting. Of course, as we all know, Badassness > Guns. Again, I was hoping for a light saber, but there was none unfortunately. I mean seriously, this needs a damn lightsaber! So the overly armored guard is firing absurd amounts of bullets at our hero, in vane of course, as he is doing this crazy speedy run/teleport/flash... thing. I don't know wtf he did, but it was awesome and suddenly he's behind the guard and he does his awesome kick from before, except he did it directly to the guard. Seriously, if he can kick two... whatevers at two different precise locations fast enough to knock out a heavily armored person, this guard is SO screwed.

The guy then rappels down a floor and breaks through a window. Wait, why does he need to rappel down, he just jumped from a cliff that was a good quarter of a mile away. Whatever, he's just showing off I guess. As he breaks into this office space kinda room (cubicles and everything), he throws something from his mouth, what? It looked like a shuriken, but he threw it fast. Anyway, it lands in the chest of a guard in front of him. He's bombarded quickly by bullets on his flanks and he backflips directly up as the bullets fly right under him in slow motion. The guards, because they suck, take each other out. Remember, they were at his polar flanks. I love this show so damn much already. He then lands and strikes a pose before hurling something at this huge blast door in front of him and begins running toward it. This thing he threw at the door, blows it down with ease. (Where are they getting this stuff?) It creates a large smoke cloud and he runs through it. The camera cuts to the room on the other side. It's got cold metal walls, made apparent by mist coming off of them and some terminal in the center of the room surrounded by two steps up in a circular fashion and two unfortunate guards awaiting a beat down as the hooded guy comes front flipping into the room from the smoke. He lands on a guard and knocks him over and then kicks the other guard in that same fashion from before. Of course, he goes flying to the wall. Then the guy pounds down on the guard he toppled over, knocking him out. He looks over at the terminal, approaches it, and pulls a lever down. It seems to start up... something. He then turns to the side, and in a female voice, wait... whoa, this was a girl the whole time. She says something like, "It's up to you now."

The scene cuts to that corporate building from the first scene and the first hooded guy we saw on the highway is standing in front of it. He takes a step forward and behind him, those mice say something to get his attention. There's only two of them, I guess they didn't stop for their buddy. The hooded guy turns around and gets into a fighting stance. The following fight scene is just too bad ass to even describe. There's no possible way to describe to complete and total awesomeness that was this scene. You know how it ends though. The hooded guy beat the mess out of the two biker mice... who may or may not be from Mars. Oh yeah, it's overcast here too, forgot to mention that.

After giving the beating, he turns back to the building and approaches the double door. He opens the door, but not with his hands, but with magic? The doors flew open on their own. He walks in and the camera shows the machine from before. Suddenly the guy takes the hood off and here's where the surprise comes in. It turns out to be Twilight Sparkle. Wait a minute, WTF?! Okay, so at least now we know that we're watching MLP again. So who was the other hooded figure? It was never said, but I'm going to guess either Rarity or Applejack. I'm leaning more on Applejack. Remember that stylish kick I mentioned she did? That was actually a buck. (Maybe both of them were there and the camera was just tricky like that since the odd teleport thingy was more unicorn magic like and the buck was more Applejack strength. Could have been Rainbow Dash, but I don't recall any rainbow trails.) Twilight performs some magic with her horn and the machine starts. This machine began creating cupcake with pink frosting. A moment later, a song starts up... in Pinkie's voice. The camera pans across the extensive machine and these cupcakes begin to materialize into Pinkie's form and it is clear she is singing. About what, I don't know. Suddenly the show ends and I woke up.

Holy shit, season 2 of My Little Pony is going to be f*$&ing awesome! For extra fun, go review the dream with the fact that the 2 hooded people were ponies.

Distorted Travesty News
Oh right, this blog about my game. Gate 2 is still coming along flawlessly and really well. I still gotta give Chapter 3 to my testers, not that Chapter 3 is all that much. It's maybe... 10 minutes. Super short chapter between Gates 1 and 2. The main world chapters will start having a lot of content after this though, considering the player will actually have a way to fight back at that point. Hope everyone had an awesome weekend while I was away.
Here's a screenshot since I don't want to reveal too much. This isn't the enemy type I mentioned in the previous post.
You actually won't be fighting 2 this early.


To The Past

Work on Gate 2 has begun and is coming out great. This is the Zelda themed gate area. Note for the future, I'll only be revealing stuff up to Gate 3. A few screenshots here and there will be released, but they won't contain spoilers nor will they be in context.

About Gate 2
With some suggestions from people, I have put in the Zelda 2 overworld map for getting around Gate 2 and plays exactly like the original with the 4 directional movement limitation. The only change I made was the faster movement speed on the map. I wanted to keep map travel fairly quick, especially for those who want to explore every nook and cranny. There's quite a bit out there too. The map design itself is obviously different and is also a bit smaller, despite the faster travel speed. Zelda 2 isn't THAT big of a game, but I still don't want to be putting an entire game within a game... (within a game? o_O) The gate chapters are typically longer than the ones that connect them, but I didn't want the player spending a bazillion hours here. Though this is easily the biggest of the Gate levels. There are 3 palaces (oh look, 'palaces' IS a word, it just sounds so wrong) which will lead up to the Great Palace at the end. (New set of tiles though, the entire gate won't be using the Zelda 2 tiles.) So that's 4 areas that the player is going to go to. In addition to the small places they'll be going to to get to these dungeons. There's no sidetrack areas like getting the hammer though. (Man that place was torture.)

There is an enemy type that is somewhat on par with the Shrouds. I had a very hard time NOT putting one in as a boss fight for one of these dungeons. Basically it's a heavily armored guard with a huge arsenal. It can shield projectiles and if it's not off-guard, it can block melee as well. Shielding a projectile will power the shield which it can use to make a nasty little shockwave attack. It has charge attack, (like a shoulder bash) a ranged sword beam... and there's more that they can do. Their base damage is 2 hearts and at this part of the game, that only gives the player 2-3 mistakes for an enemy that can counter their moves. The player also doesn't have the dash at this point. These are actually a normal field enemy that appear in later parts of the game, but an encounter with one when the player has almost no defensive options seems a bit too much.

If you thought about playing this game, do it, it's awesome. I don't like a lot of stuff that Atlus puts out, but this is a rare exception. The themes in the game are handled brilliantly and with finesse. It's about your average guy in the US. (I believe it takes place in Chicago, but don't quote me on that.) He's 32, has a girlfriend he's been with for 5 years and a job that gets him by. He doesn't want anything to change and is happy with how things are. But of course, normal lifestyles don't make for interesting storytelling... most of the time. Things change when his girlfriend starts bringing up marriage a lot more, which he doesn't want. He starts having nightmares that cause him to feel restless. The nightmares are what make up the actual gameplay in the form of puzzle solving where you must climb a tower of blocks. It's a simple, yet cleverly designed game in that regard and flows well with the narrative. Even more of a change is when he wakes up one day and realizes he's cheated on his girlfriend, which starts an interesting chain of events.

The theme is pretty obvious, but it's pulled off so well. Everything in the game fits into the narrative, making the whole thing amazing. It's one of the few games where I can say that the rating M for mature can actually mean 'mature'. I find that rating rather misleading and inappropriate as I don't find games with silly amounts of gore and swearing, simply for the sake of it to be mature, but rather the opposite. Catherine is, in a sense, a psychological thriller, not in the same way as say, Silent Hill 2 though. Still, definitely check it out, I highly recommend this game.


Musical Chairs

Edit: (July 24, 2011) I forgot to mention this, Mega Man Legends 3 was cancelled! WTF?! :(

This is the 85th post to this blog. You guys know what that means right?

Chapter 2 is done and Slaix has tested it. Got some good feedback from him and am awaiting another report from someone else. Meanwhile, the next section of the game is coming along.

Music is now loaded into memory as it's needed in the game. I haven't seen any hiccups or points when it needs to stop to load the music resource going into memory. They are also removed from memory when they are not needed, as opposed to DT1 which did not manage this at all. The resource loading time after the game launches is almost non-existent. The overhead is... super low now. I think I said this once before too, but saving is practically instantaneous too. DT3 has much more data to store than DT1 too. Everything is working great, despite me being a horrible programmer.

So I don't really want to show any screenshots. I'll show one of how the map screen looks sometime, but for now, here's a boring chart that describes how I'm handling difficulty in DT3.

DT3's download (you know, in a few years) won't be hosted on adware spamming sites, I'll be hosting it from a dropbox. Later on I'll be adding a download for DT1 and 2 to dropbox as well. No more waiting pointlessly on that timer and no more ads. The next post might be a rant... maybe, depends if I can gather my thoughts on the topic properly.

Also ponies... because I can. :P


Hannah Nebraska

If you play Metal Gear Online (MGS4), and run into a character in it with the above name, that's my roommate Jerry. He wanted to name her Hannah South Dakota, but it wouldn't fit. So life hasn't allowed me any time the last few days to work on DT3. Actually it has, but during the times I had free, I was either hanging out with my roommates, (this happens a lot, we're high school friends actually... well not Jerry and Jeremy, I'm just the bridge) playing Borderlands, (SteamID/gamespyID: ZephyrBurst) or RPing. I role play from time to time, it's fun and it gets the creative cogs turning. This lack of free time, err, free time given to other activities is also why there's no video. :D (No I lied, there's also real life and all that, wait a minute... the above still applies, so it's not a lie.)

Project CAS
There's a nifty little project that I've watched for the past several months. It's been interesting watching it grow and expand in every way. The engine, gameplay, and art, especially the art, have come a long way and seen a few revisions. You can see the progress that's been made on the art throughout the blog that's been set up for it here. Check it out if you have the time, it's had a lot of work put into it.

Nothing to post about DT at this time.


Experimental Spiders

Edit: (July 11, 2011) No video of DT3 it looks like. I was busy with IGDA stuff most of the weekend and then hung out with the roommates the rest of it. Instead of announcing a soon-to-be-released video, I'll just skip the partial hype and suddenly pop it out of nowhere.

Edit: (July 8, 2011) I might actually post a video this weekend! It will be short, but hey, it's a video! :D

Meant to mention this two posts ago. I finally found that spider again! It was crawling along the side of my bed. You know what this means? IT COULD HAVE CRAWLED ON ME IN MY SLEEP! Anyway, I removed it from the premise, so that is no longer an issue, and my window spiders are safe!

The Claustrophobia Test, (but not really)
I periodically use random DT players (you guys) as guinea pigs in obscure tests. They're mostly oddball ideas that pop into my head, but some of them produce interesting results. For example:

Shot A
Shot B

These two shots are, gameplay wise, exactly the same. You could argue against that for some situational things in DT with its utility spells, but for 99.99% of the players and time, this will present the exact same gameplay. During the following examples, I didn't bring the above point up, I merely showed the shots and asked a question with no other context, so with that...
Question 1
I showed these two shots to a number of people and asked which one they felt more threated in. That question left things somewhat mixed, 7/10 of them said they felt more threated in Shot B.
Question 2
Then I asked which one they felt more likely to fall off the platforms in. And this was the surprising part, every person said Shot B.
Question 3
I followed that question up with which one they felt safer in. I know it's sort of asking the opposite of question 1, but again, I was surprised to find that everyone said Shot A.

I derped a lot of things with this test though. I should have been documenting their responses and explanations for their answers. Though I do think the results explain themselves, I see it as inconclusive since I failed to record and document everything properly. The only accurate part of it are the tallies of what people chose.

There are some other little tests like this that I've done and will continue to do in the future. I'll be making them more public from now on though.

Design Decision with Gate 1
Gate 1 is the first major gameplay point in the game. It is reached within minutes of the game's beginning and is where the Mario levels take place. Since it's essentially the first level in the game, I wanted to keep things simple and straight forward. I thought about having a few branching paths, but I didn't want to add that sort of complexity for this part of the game, so went with a simple Mario approach. There is one spot where you'll backtrack through 2 maps, but that is all. These maps are set up to be a very different feel both ways and are designed with the backtrack path in mind. That aside, it's a simple stroll through various Mario themes mixed with some DT elements for the second half of it. I feel it's a good beginning level that will have the player seeing the Game Over screen only a small handful of times. For the optional pick ups like Heart Pieces, Chests, etc, all of them can be obtained on the first time through. Some, no, all of them are obviously easier on return visits. Some of them may look impossible to get, but with enough observation, you can get them. Most of them don't take a lot of finesse to get.

One thing which may disappoint people is the big major bosses at the end of the 7 gates do not offer a full heart container like Zelda bosses would give. I'll be designing the damage enemies deal to the player as if they collected 80% of the heart pieces up to that point. (That are reasonably obtainable.) But really, you shouldn't be getting hit. It's not like DT has difficult to dodge attacks or anything. :P


An Update The Day After An Update

What is this madness!!

This update is about one thing only, and that is to tell you to watch the series Firefly. If you've seen it, you know why I'm posting about it. If not... go see why! :D Also go watch Friendship is Magic as well.

I Lied
This update is actually not about the above. Significant progress has been made on the project. The item shop interface and equipment sub-menu are all fully functional. Shop owners can all have unique items instead of DT1's static shops. (Like it should be.)

The Item Shop Window, fairly standard.

I'm really happy with the whole thing. (The project in general.) Everything is nice and optimized. There's more going on with DT3's system and it runs a whole lot better than DT1 ever did. I look back on DT1's code and I wonder how the game even ran at all sometimes. The code was inefficient (and still is in some aspects) and was sloppy. Slaix knows about a few of my coding atrocities with it. He probably cringed hard at how collectibles were handled, and that wasn't even the worst part of it. I dare not tell you how some of DT1's systems were handled. Luckily DT3 has none of that. I leveled up throughout the first DT project. :D

Well I guess that's it for now.


Better Than Terrorism

Ignore the title, it's an obscure reference having to do with ponies. It doesn't let me post an update if it's blank, believe me I tried.

Part 2 Update
Part 2 has been updated, which should have been done the day after the previous update but... I have excuse, I just suck. It's what the previous update had, but with sound. Yes, you're reading this right, I left a broken version up for 2 months. :s

Duke Nukem Imposter Review
So I said last week I was possibly going to review this game and it looks like I'm just going to give my perspective on it. My first observation was regenerating health, not TOO big a deal, we'll see if it doesn't create hide & heal gameplay. Then suddenly I'm hit with a 2 gun rule. ......................................................... See now we're getting into modern shooter gameplay a bit too much. I find that unnecessary for this game. There were quite a few times when I found myself wishing I could hold that other gun lying there, but don't want to trade out my pistol and rifle. I'd grab a Shrink Ray, but that leaves me with 1 useful gun. Or at least 1 gun that doesn't run out of ammo in 5 shots. (Slight exaggeration.) I actually ran out of ammo once. Maybe I just suck, but this shouldn't be happening. I never run out of ammo in FPS games. (That's a lie, I did on the Perfect Agent setting in Perfect Dark on occasion.) I wanted to scream at the gun balance so many times. 2 guns worked in Halo because the devs had that rule in mind when they were designing their levels. What happened here? It never felt like game balance, it was just annoying. A bit further in and I find that the regenerating health is indeed annoying and encourages hide and heal gameplay. There are these lunging enemies that seem to gravitate toward Duke and take 2/3 of his health with each hit. o_O They would always come in pairs. I'd shoot one, the other would hit me, I shoot him and hide. This was 99% of the encounters with them. It's why I don't like regenerating health. I never felt threatened, just annoyed that I had to hide for 5 seconds yet again. Melee attacks that killed its target would fully regenerate your health, that was the only good idea that I saw and it actually helped some encounters flow well.

The worst part for me wasn't the atrocious gameplay elements, the lag, the long loading, the horrendous amount of bugs... nah, none of that. It was something I thought would save the game since the rest of it sucked. But it's the diarrhea icing on the shit cake here. The writing... The old Duke Nukem games had cheesy humor mixed with satirical puns. Lots of one liners, but humorous ones on par with Star Fox 64. This game was just flat out offensive and shallow. Some of you that know me from forums or chat rooms (or in person) know I love a good misogynistic joke here and there, even to the point of pissing off every girl around. But even this offended me. It got tiring very quick. The jokes weren't funny, they were just hateful with nothing to back them up. There was no satire, build up, or any hint of clever writing behind them. I didn't actually finish the game and I never will. I just couldn't stand it anymore. Also the levels were super linear and not reminiscent of earlier shooters.

Other M Thingy
Here's another game that got a lot of hate. I don't quite understand why though, since it was a brilliant piece of work. It was a good light-hearted joke at the Metroid universe in general. A comical look at Samus' character and the inferiority of women. Seeing Samus take orders from a somewhat unknown and unanimously hated character, to the point of blind stupidity, was a perfect look at the optimal roles women should and can serve in society. The point when Samus almost literally crawled into a fetal position over the sight of Ridley only backed up the satirical nature of the game and really helped drive the point about, as stated before, women's inferiority. We had a downer ending that completely missed the point. There was a weak and disappointing final encounter, but this only helped to amplify the main point of the game which continually bombards the player with bad dialogue, forgettable characters, and endless plotholes. That's exactly what made this game the wonderful gem it was. We see the brilliance in the writing by it being consistently bad. What we're left with is not a terrible game, but a misunderstood and wonderful satire on a game series we all know and love.

So now onto what this blog is about...