Stuff Under the Header

12/16/2012

Lots of Views

I saw the bird in the store do something that I probably shouldn't find funny, but meh. I was around the produce section late at night when I spotted her above it, which is fairly normal. A moment later, she flew down into the lettace and sat in it. So I did what any good employee should do... I watched her. At first I thought she was going to eat some of it, but she was drinking the water that was on it. After she had a few drinks, she flew up for a few seconds and then came back down, sat in the lettace again, and made herself comfortable. She got another drink, gave herself a quick bath in it, and then flew back up.

The blog has over 50,000 views now. (It had reached it earlier this month, I just missed it.)

Planetside 2... Again
There are certain games that, instead of having a set story you play through, it lets you craft your own story through your experiences. Planetside allows you to do this on many occasions. In one instance when my faction was defending the Crown, I had noticed the base next to us had turrets bombing us, and at times my faction would pointlessly fire back over to them. I was busy sniping people trying to get across the bridge or sniping their snipers and this was starting to bother me. I figured my little mission would fail, but I decided I was going to sneak over and hack the turret and turn it on whatever I could, which would also cause them to have to turn their own guns on it. So I made my way over to it, foiling a poor sniper who had an unfortunate position on top of a hill. He should have had cover when he shot at me. I then successfully made it to the base and recharged my cloak, then snuck to the turret and hacked it while someone was in it. A moment later, I was in. Success! Immediately I scanned for targets and blew someone away, then something even more interesting caught my attention. I took out an active Sunderer and bailed out of the turret just before they destroyed it. I didn't make it far before I had a few hundred bullets in my back. It took them awhile to get that turret back for some reason, but I decided to wrecklessly try it again. Same result, I blew up another Sunderer of theirs, and bailed before they blew up the turret. This time however, I managed to make it away successfully. If you know the area around the Crown, then you probably know about the bridge to the south-west that leads up to it. While the opposing faction had occupied this bridge and were busy with my team at the front, I found a vantage point that left their team with nearly zero cover.

Overall, I don't know how much of an impact this had in that fight, a lot of times it's hard to gauge just how helpful your actions are, but that end result is not my concern. The actions themselves were satisfying and it left a fun story. Playing with friends also makes this game much better. On another note, I've changed my faction to VS.

DT3 Progression
Development has been really slow the past few months due to work (which will die down in January) and my more active social life. Development is not going to stop though, the project is getting better all the time. The target release date, if the pace keeps at what it is now, will not be met though. It's looking to be early 2014 now.

Boss Fight Video in DT3
NegativeZeroZ has a video of a duel in DT3. A very late Demo_2.1 boss fight, so if you haven't played the demo... it spoils a later boss fight. It's so weird to see the old damage colors now.

3 comments:

Kurtis Haren said...

Man, I take a break from playing these games, and I forget how absolutely insane some of the battles are. I mean, I watch the video and right off the bat I see the boss's initial melee attack. I watch it closely to look for the tell that lets you know when to dodge, and I simply don't see it. Either I'm missing something, or it's going to have to be something like jump in for a couple attacks, then back off and wait for it to attack before risking another go at it.

I kind of like watching videos of people taking on the bosses in games like these. Everybody has their own play-style and what personally works for them, and it's interesting to see how their reactions differ from your own at each instance.

I also like looking at how you plan out the boss battles and figuring out why you make them the way you do. For instance, and I apologize if this is still spoiling too much, near the end of the video I noticed that the boss seemed to get smaller as its HP went down. I started wondering why you did that, and it dawned on me that it meant you had a smaller target to attack and it was going to start getting more difficult to line up each hit. It ended up being a very clever way to make the fight grow in difficulty over time in a way other than just throwing out more stuff for the player to dodge.

I have to ask, though, how you initially decide on difficulty balancing. Before you hand off the game to your beta testers to figure out the difficulty, how do you decide on how hard to make a boss fight? Do you play through it yourself and count how often you get hit, and adjust it accordingly? For instance, if you play through a mid-game boss and finish with only half of your health, do you consider that good? If it's an end-game battle and you barely scrape by a victory, is that a success in your eyes? Or do you take into account that as the developer, you have a deeper knowledge of the perfect methods to beat each enemy in your game and adjust things accordingly?

I'm absolutely fascinated by game design and want to make something myself, and I like thinking about things like these. I just like asking about the process behind making stuff, really. (I also like reading about the birds, I just don't know much about animals and just kind of passively enjoy the read. My own biggest success with an animal is just getting one of our house cats to let me pick her up for a short period of time.)

NegativeZeroZ said...

Jumping in and out of his range just results in his attacks getting bigger to reach you. It's actually better to just stay close to him at all times and focus your attention to the thing you DON'T have to dodge, that being his upward slash. He has two different attack cues for slashes that you have to dodge, and only one that you don't. I find that the wall of sickles can generally be dodged in the same dash when the boss does his rolling slash.

It is kind of a spoiler, which is why the boss's name isn't in the video title, and why I chose the thumbnail that spoils the least about the fight itself. I can make the video unlisted though if you want. I just assumed everything in the public demo was fair game.

ZephyrBurst said...

Keep it how it is Zero, it's totally fine, I just wanted to give a warn that it was DT3 content. No problems there.

Deciding on the difficulty is hard to quantify. When I'm testing, (and the testers too) there's things like player ability, understanding, and performance.

When it's just me, I do look at how often I'm taking damage and what the outcome is, but more importantly, I'm looking at when/where I'm making mistakes. It goes into figuring out if I'm playing inept or if what I ask of the player is too much. There is another thing that goes into determining this and it's something I've come up with a term for myself. (Oh no, annoying nerd jargon.) I like to call them hotspots. These are places that the player needs to be to either succeed or be more optimized. When I made a top-down Zeldaish game waaay back, this was THE thing that determined how bosses would attack. (It was definitely easier to do in that than DT.) Hotspots are where most of the obstacles will be. Death is an easy example of this. His hotspots are the player's melee range directly to his sides, so he'll concentrate on those areas. One of the things that make Death so tense is that's practically the only way to damage him and he attacks the hotspots very frequently. Even now he's considered the hardest boss in the game and the test build is much farther along. (There is an optional boss that the testers have said is right on par with Death though.)

When it's tester feedback, I do kinda like to know how many tries it took and what their end HP was, but what I really look for is what they say about the specific moments. The tester feedback is the most important part when I think that content is done, and it'll reshape many of the minor details. Though in some bad cases, they've completely changed something, but for the better.

What's interesting as I watch Zero's DT1 S rank play; A lot of that looks better than what I can do and it's safe to say that he is better than me at that game.