So this is another lengthy post, but this time there are pictures!
Looks like I'll show a bit of my mapping process for DT3. First up, here's a screenshot of some stuff. Yes, I do use Windows Classic theme, I don't like the bubbly look of XP, Vista, and 7. Just a basic clean interface is all I need.
These black blocks you see on corners are the static world collision. They're simply a 16x16 pixel sprite that is scaled to fit a simple box area. For example, look all the way to the right of the image to find the word 'Turn Cannon'. The box to the left is scaled up by 6 to match that area. It looks like it would take a lot of time to manually scale each collision object, but I've gotten really good at eyeballing how much scaling everything needs so this process is pretty fast for me. Those yellow squares with the C are simply visual reminders to me that I've fixed up the collision for that area. They're deleted the moment the map is loaded in-game. This method allows me to keep the amount of world collision objects very low, even on bigger maps. Of course there are other static collision types that are used for various situations, like drop-through platforms and slopes. I don't use any sort of tile-based collisions, there are advantages to it, but I prefer the method I use since I have more flexibility and run-time speed isn't an issue. Takes a bit more time to make maps this way, but I'm fine with that.
Scan Window Changes + Damage Colors
Some changes that the final game will have...
The scan window has changed a bit.
Peter, it's your fault this was changed. :P Instead of those silly colored orbs, you have easy to read colored numbers. 1x damage is still white, but the rest of these all match the colors in here, with 3x being larger flashy numbers flying off the enemy in a somewhat arcade fashion. The initial idea was warm colors were good, cool colors were bad, but this has been reversed. The colored orbs were hard to understand at a glance. That's really all anyone should do in the scan window; take a quick look at it and continue on with the game.
A Major Skill Change and Stun Time
Here's another change that's actually not in the current build, but will be soon. The skills to boost attack speed for Jerry and Claire's melee weapon will be changed. The player isn't going to be able to alter attack speed through the skill tree. The default will be set to the equivalent of Lv.3 for each character. Instead the skill that replaces it will boost the stun time of each character's melee weapon for each level of that skill. Quite a few other abilities will have their stun times changed and the enemies will also have their stun resists redone. Of course this also makes the beginning of both Chapter 4 and 6 much easier, but those areas are essentially a tutorial for how the new ability works, so I'm perfectly fine with that. They may be altered later on anyway, some earlier maps could use a bit of reworking here and there anyway. This will be implemented after I finish the Chapter 8 content, though I'll be talking to the testers about it first.
I don't think the demo will be updated with these changes, the idea of the demo was to get feedback, which has been great so far. I'd like to thank everyone that shared their likes and dislikes of the third game, it has all been super helpful in shaping how the final game will be.
One of those things the first game got wrong
The first game had something I didn't like once it got near the end of its development. That being how long it takes to dispatch normal enemies. They take too many hits to bring down. There's elemental weaknesses and crippling that the player is supposed to use and certain abilities that are optimal for each encounter, but once I started seeing other people playing the game, I realized no one was using any of it very often. The system, when using all of its mechanics, was too complex. There's far too much metagaming going on in DT1 for most people to effectively play it. You're meant to be constantly keeping your hit count up throughout the maps, chaining air dashes, and using jump attacks. (Yes, even jump attacks.) All this while making sure you're using the right element. If you're on Hard or Distorted, crippling is pretty much necessary for everything once you reach post Black Rock levels. On top of that, it requires you to swap elements far too often. It's simply too much for most people, and honestly, it's not designed well. I don't hate the system in DT1, but it's really for a very niche group of video gamers. It could have been taken down a notch in terms of complexity.
The second game... meh, lets not talk about the second game. It's simpler. (Aside from level layouts.)
A few chapters into the third game does use some of the first game's complexity with using the right tools for the job, but I've learned a lot from all the past game's design flaws. The goal and vision of this game is much clearer than the first game ever was and I'm liking where things are going with it.