Stuff Under the Header

12/08/2013

Fun Feedback

Edit: (12/25/2013) Merry Christmas to everyone, now get off the Internet! :3

Damage Feedback
When the player takes damage, there are 3 main damage types that the player commonly comes across. That being [Normal], [Elemental], and [Explosive]. So of course, the game gives the player options for more defense against these.

When the player deals damage, the game lets them know through colored damage text if they hit an enemy's weakness or resistance. (Instead of DT1's method of ambiguation.) So it's only right that the player knows what they're being hit with. In the demo, this isn't shown, you just get a screen flash. This has changed, instead, the corners of the screen will flash a color based on the type of damage you were dealt. (And it isn't so in your face and intrusive when the player is hit.) The other thing is the game now tells the player how much damage they took like in DT1 and DT2. The color of the text matches the screen flash as well.

Force Armor
Remember this expensive piece of equipment in the demo? It reduced damage from all sources by 1, which is quite useful, a bit too useful. It was changed to reduce damage only from normal type damage. (Basically anything that isn't explosive or elemental (like fireballs)). In every situation, when choosing what type of defensive gear to use, Force Armor was the obvious go to. Why choose only elemental defense when you could go with all of them. (Unless you were stacking them.) This brings back a meaningful choice and removes a late game design issue I was seeing with stacking too many defensive options together.

Gate 6
I mentioned before that it became the final one since Gate 7 was removed, but I never did say what theme it would be using. I still won't, but a not so helpful hint will be given. I've mentioned in the past that it would be of an arcade style, but that's not what it actually is. DT already embraces a lot of arcade style action at times and doing entire set of levels on it is unnecessary. Gate 6 does not represent a game, but instead a genre.

I need to get an FAQ up sometime, not on the game, but on questions asked to me.

Fun Fact
It was around this time that I originally wanted to release DT3. Seeing how I'm finishing up chapter 14 of 20, you can see I'm a little behind schedule. What happened? A lot of things, remember nothing ever goes as planned.

11/19/2013

Healing Items and Stuff

Edit: (11/20/2013) It's the Planetside 2 first year anniversary. On that note, if you tried the game and were turned off from it due to it running like shit, I recommend trying it again. The game has had a huge overhaul on its back-end and has improved its performance for nearly everyone, and they're doing 2 more, smaller, optimization passes on the game. It's also going to be on the PS4, again as a free-to-play game, and you won't need PS+ to play it.

The other day after shopping, I found about a quarter of a burger left outside. Well the top bun anyway. It had been out for awhile, which was made apparent by the bread being hard. I saw a grackle close by and tossed it over to her. She happily skittered over and grabbed it. That happy mood was quickly replaced by very visible frustration at the bread being hard. She shook it and threw it on the ground twice. I waited and watched to see what she would do next.

One thing that grackles know how to do is put hard food in water to let it soften, such as dog food. However, bread can be a pain in the ass for them to eat when it's wet. There were plenty of puddles around for her to use, which I figured she'd use, but that's not what she went for. Instead, she grabbed the dried bread and flew in front of a parked car, then placed the bread in front of the left front tire. What's interesting to note is the setting is a parking lot, so there were plenty of parked cars around. She didn't just put the bread in front of any random car though, she chose the one car among the rest in the area that had someone sitting in it.

So after putting the bread in front of the car, she went to the side, looked up at the car, and started chirping at it.

Healing Items
Short segment here. It's worth noting that when playtesting, I don't ever use healing items. If I can't get through a segment without the help of healing potions, then the level has to be edited. (Technically I have to be able to perfect run a segment, but when doing a full run through an entire area, that is disregarded due to human error. The healing potion clause always applies though.)

Stuff
I've mentioned that DT3 will be the last fan-game (or game with sprite-rips) that I'll do. It'll also be the last of its scale that I'll make, at least alone anyway. DT3 is massive, its main quest is definitely bigger than DT1, and that's not mentioning DT3's side content. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it would be a lie to say this wasn't an oversight. I prefer smaller games honestly, both in playing and making I've found. Really, I think games should be smaller for the most part, MMOs aside. I feel games typically explore their gameplay well enough within 5-8 hours. The rest seems like filler or copypaste content. DT3 isn't any different, to be honest. I've tried to bring something unique to each area, and not just in the visuals. If I were in the mindset I am now 2 years prior, DT3 would be a bit smaller, but at this point, it would hurt the project to cut it down. It certainly explores each of its Ability Sets extensively, especially on the end game chapters.

On the note of games being shorter, this is a huge topic, and not one I know how to fully address. In some cases, more content can be better, even if it's more of the same type you've come across before. I'm pretty sure we could have gone without level... we'll pick 5-2, or 6-1 in the first Mario game and it wouldn't have felt any different than it did... or would it? It's hard to really figure out, “Is this better with or without this content? Does it add anything to the experience? But does it take away something without its presense?”

I know if I were to start cutting existing content, the Sky Castle in Gate 3 would be the first to go. Next would be a few misc. maps in Gate 2, and I know of 2 or 3 maps in Gate 5 that I'd remove. That's speculation though, I'm not removing existing content that currently works.

Progress
Chapter 14 is getting fairly close to being done. Just a few more gameplay scenarios to script and it'll be ready.

As for unique content for each new area, the end game certainly does this better than the rest of the game.

11/06/2013

Data Entry

Something about birds. I'll have something about them next time.

Random Shenanegans
Slaix and I had a totally super serious conversation about the end of DT3 the other day. These are such really big spoilers that I don't know if I should post this very serious conversation.

Slaix223: Speaking of time travel, I hope you're going to have time travel play a major role in the ending of DT3 just to piss everyone off.
ZephyrBurst: Haha.

ZephyrBurst: Right as the world program is about to go down, Jeremy hacks into the recovery drive and reverts everything back x days.
ZephyrBurst: START AGAIN!!
Slaix223: Start the entire game all over. It needs more length.
ZephyrBurst: Yes.
Slaix223: How are you supposed to say DT3 is a good game if it isn't 50 hours long?
ZephyrBurst: With only a few dialogue changes since the protagonists know what's going on this time.
Slaix223: Also everything does more damage because of the paradox effect.
ZephyrBurst: And when you get to the end, there's no epic final encounter. The protagonists just know how to hit the kill switch.
ZephyrBurst: THE END!!

Enemy Scan Data
This is a fairly big part of the game, especially for DT1 on Hard mode since cripple points were about the only way to do significant damage to a lot of late game enemies. I always liked the idea of being able to look up information about what you're going against in games. This idea came from Metroid Prime's scans and while they weren't really necessary, (like in DT) I found them more immersive more than anything. In DT1, it was mainly there to help players out that haven't played the source games that the enemies were from, or to clue them in on how to engage a boss fight. In Metroid Prime, it had all these nifty bits of info about what the creature ate and how it lived in the habitat you found it in. The Space Pirates always had interesting entries in how it described their weapons systems or about the heirarchy of their command when you found a higher ranking Pirate.

In DT2... let's just skip DT2.

In DT3, I wanted to make sure Jeremy and Chao, for the most part, had seperate roles in the scan data. Jeremy reclaims his role in DT1 of giving the player basic info on how an enemy behaves.
Chao will sometimes fill in a few blanks Jeremy left behind, but her primary role is tell where the sprite came from, source wise, and sometimes the differences in their behaviors in the source material and in DT3.
The Dev Comments are just my bits of info about not just the enemy scan, but about some of the things I was making on the game during that time. It was also made to seperate this from Chao's scans, since she started getting a bit too meta with her entries.

Talkhaus Is Back
I've been getting informed on the Talkhaus' state of recovery. Just in case you go there, but didn't know, it is now back. A thread about it is here.

Also a screenshot.
If it's not on fire, you're doing it wrong.

10/21/2013

Game Mechanics

The grackles from the north are back for the cold season. Thousands of grackles fill the sky every evening now. They also catch on really quick when other grackles find food. Once one of the regulars that know me approach me, the 1 or 2 birds quickly turn into about 25-30.

Holy Shit, Censorship
This is partially why this post suddenly happened. Was gonna save some of this stuff for later, but here it is... well the stuff below this link, but check this out anyway, I find it very important to know about.
Silly things that happen
Edit: The dev responded to what happened

Game Stuff
Here's some changes that have happened lately.

Jerry's Dash
More specifically, his backdash is now a ground dash like the forward one. This had some humorous bugs before it got to the testers. Like being able to use up all your dashes incredibly quick to build up immunity time. It's still possible to do, but the button sequence and timing is so incredibly tight and specific, that if someone can pull that off, more power to them. Plus running completely out of dash points in DT3 can suck a lot.

Gate A Boss
Since all the other Extra Gates (now called Nightmare Gates) have boss fights, I figured it would be good to get one for this level too. That and there aren't that many other Mario based boss encounters planned aside from those in Gate 1. Though if you play the Nightmare Gates right after their respective gates, that's still quite a gap in time between the early and later Mario boss fights.

Changed due to... you guessed it! Reasons!!










The layout is the same for the level above, the tiles simply changed for the Castle level in Gate A. And the tiles now matching Yoshi's Island totally have nothing to do with the boss fight... nope! Actually the boss room tiles are using the Gate 1 castle tiles, but that's because they work better for that part.

Forest Palace
Do you guys remember this place in Gate 2? Probably not for most of you. I personally despise this level. There's only so much you can do with Zelda 2 styled dungeons and make it continually intresting. At least without changing it so much that it becomes unrecognizable from its reference material. Having 3 of them seems like overkill. The Desert Palace is good and introduces the Gate and the basic, 'press the attack button to kill things' mechanic just fine. The Great Palace is different enough (and specifically the memories involved for anyone that played it will instantly cause them to differentiate it from everything else) to keep it around. But the Forest Palace is just there, clinging to this weird rules with the floors being lies.

So it has been deleted and will be remade into a new, more interesting Forest Temple. It's closer to what you would find in more modern Zelda games, but in 2D of course. There were some decent moments in the level, so those will be ported over to the new place. The Dragon boss has been moved to the Great Palace as a sub-boss. Though he might be pushed to a very very very short new zone just before the Great Palace as a guardian of sorts. Still deciding on that. The new Forest Temple will get a more interesting boss fight as well. I mentioned below it was a boss fight used to test engine way back before it was DT.
Spoilers: It does involve OoT's Forest Temple's idea of turning rooms upside down.

9/30/2013

Something Different Instead

Edit: (Oct. 16, 2013) There probably won't be a new post this month. DT3 is still being worked on all the time though. For the next week or two, I'll be going back through chapters 1-7 to fix up a lot things I need to address. Mainly the Gate C revamp that really needs to happen. There's another level before it that no one really made much mention of. It wasn't hated or liked, but personally I loathe it so it's going to be destroyed and replaced with something else much better and more memorable. It had a boss fight with it which no longer fits, though I don't want to remove that one, so it'll be moved to another location while a new boss will be put in the new place. The fun thing about the new boss is it was the first 'boss fight' type of thing to be made for the DT engine before it was even DT. Of course behaviors and some code will have to be altered to make it work for DT's current state. Displaced Cyborg was the first boss made for DT1, but it wasn't the first test subject.

Edit: (Oct. 1, 2013) I love using Comic Sans, mainly because it upsets people for some explainable reason. Forgot to mention, I will be unavailable between Oct. 5-8 as I'll be at the Captivate Conference.

So... this post was originally going to be a rant (was even going to have a disclaimer) about how I dislike modern gamers. Instead, I'll just talk about something else, because I'm sure my thoughts on modern gamers, or rather the words I'd use to describe them, are well known anyway. I've been in a very bad mood lately. It's not my life (things are fine), it's just the world pissing me off more than usual. Probably best to keep that anger away from this blog.

Before getting into DT stuff; My bird had been gone for over a month until she suddenly showed up yesterday. She flew down and landed next to me, awaiting the usual routine as if she had never been away. It was really good timing as that was one of my bad 'I hate everything' days.

Item Hunters
First up, I like being able to find everything in a game. The completionist in me wants to see that 100%. (Assuming I like the game enough.) So lets look at a screenshot.











For Gate 3, it shows I have 26/29 items left to find. So exactly where are these 3 items? That Gate level was huge, broken up into 7 different areas. Where do we even begin?

I'm sure for you completionists out there, this could be a frustrating task. Exploration is fun, but sometimes a little clue is nice. Gate 5 has 40 items split up among 5 major areas so... yeah. Something new has been added in. After a Gate is completed, a terminal will appear at the Gate's exit portal that will display a bit more information for the player.


The source image isn't busted like what is being displayed here. o_O










Okay, now this narrows it down a bit better. Personally, this gives me more hope of being able to at least find where the other items are, getting to all of them is a different story. Every Gate will have this aside from Gate 4. If you remember from the demo, the level select screen already displayed this information for the player.

Another thing returning is the Item Finder from DT1. This time though, it's not just given to the player. It's an optional unlock that takes a bit to get. It doesn't play a sound this time, instead, Chao will display a treasure icon in her little word bubble upon entering a map if there's something there. And like DT1, it will not locate hidden maps, so it can't always be relied on.

Other DT Stuff
The last week has been almost nothing but bug fixing, tuning, and changing some things that were problematic. Things are running and playing better now. Yay!

Amnesia: Machine for Pigs
If scary things don't make you shit yourself and you like horror games... well why haven't you gotten this if you haven't already? To say too much about it would be somewhat of a spoiler, so I'm just gonna say it was a very engaging experience going through this. Personally I didn't find it quite as scary as the first Amnesia, but it is definitely a lot more disturbing. I found the story and writing more engaging than the first and in some cases, the monsters felt scarier. They aren't as visually horrifying (well you're not supposed to be looking at them, but w/e) but I found some of the situations were scarier than what was in the first game. And that's it, any more and it'll go into spoiler town. If you liked the first game or Silent Hill 2, I highly recommend Machine for Pigs.

9/14/2013

Because Video Games

Blog intro paragraph goes here...

Making DT3 and Video Games
One of the best, and sometimes worst, things about developing video games is how much they change while they're being developed. It's a highly unpredictable and volatile process where 10 bugs can pop up out of nowhere, and fixing 2 of them causes those 10 original bugs to turn into 17 bugs. Oh wait, that's not what this section is about...

I prototype a lot of stuff and always recommend it to anyone designing games. Even if you know you're not going to use something or follow through with an idea you have. If you want to see how it works, and given that it won't take too much time, do a quick prototype. It helps to see some of the flaws and strong points of your idea. Wait, that's not quite what this section is about either...

While I love prototypes, I feel that they aren't always enough. Sometimes you just have to see your ideas play out in the game proper. Games evolve and change as their developed. In DT3's case, with its original idea of the 7 Gates, each granting both characters 3 sets of abilities. (Plus that Mario one.) There was the melee oriented set, the ranged set, and the more quirky set. And in hindsight, it could still work, but it wasn't until seeing the first 2 sets from each character play so well together that it made the 3rd feel very out of place. I won't go into that here as there is another blog post that went into that already. I don't think any amount of prototyping would have assisted in getting to this change. The way the project has played out feels like it just begged for the change to cut out the 3rd set. Sometimes, you just have to put in the time to make shit to see how it really works.

Seemingly small things can be huge. Jerry's Megaman attacks all have a slight refire delay to remove point blank spamming. I've done it plenty of times during playtesting, ShadowSonic did it in his last LP video of the DT3 demo. Slaix spammed missiles in a bosses face to make incredibly short work of them. Point-blank spamming breaks a lot of things. Part of the reason there's a projectile limit (such as only 2 arrows allowed on screen or 3 X-Buster shots) is to remove such exploits. So, Jerry's Megaman refire delays have been extended to all projectile weapons, including Claire's Daggers and Holy Water. It's not a big delay, just enough to remove the above issue.

Controller Support
Gamepad controls are now built into DT3. That's really all that needs to be said about that...

A Common Idea I Like
I seem to really like cat and mouse scenarios as Gate F has a map where the player will be chased around while they find various points of interest. Said thing is invincible OF COURSE and will use the black magic of A* pathfinding to always find the most efficient route to the player. The map is question is somewhat maze like where the player can open and close routes. While the cat of this scenario is slightly slower than the player, it's often best to be as far from it as possible, or in some cases, close off a route at the last second to grant you just a few more seconds away from it. Also said thing gets slightly faster the more points of interest the player completes; Because reasons!

I know I said I'd have a video explaining some of my boss design methods on the next blog post... I guess I lied. It's still going to happen, but I want to finish up a few things in the project before I go into another video. If I do the video now, I'll probably end up rushing it and I don't want to do that.

There's something else I was going to mention in this post, but brain farts have occurred...

POSTING ANYWAY!!

9/08/2013

Pink Journal

Edit: (September 11, 2013) Gamepad support is IN. It's not fully implemented yet, (It doesn't work with the UI stuff at the time of this typing) but it works awesomely for the character control. I even fixed up the control code in the process and made it more efficient. Even better is GM can detect the exact controller that's plugged in, so if I want to get really fancy, I can have the UI change along with the connected controller. For example, if an xbox controller is plugged in, the UI can show (A) or (X), etc, where a Logitech would show a (1) or (3). I don't know if I'll go back to DT1 and DT2 to add this in, but rest easy knowing that DT3 will have full on gamepad support built in! No more 3rd party software to get your stuff to work!

Once again the seasons are changing and the bird flocks are moving around, so a lot of the birds I interact with are moving with their flock. A bit less bird action, but since this is when all the grackles migrate down here, there will actually be more of them... a lot more.

DT3 Things Getting Done
It's a good and accurate section name. Gate 5 and all its troubles, yet interesting development findings is done. (Well has been done for roughly a week.) As the tweet says, I like how it ends. Most of my attention is now on its extra Gate, which have all been renamed to 'Nightmare Gates'. Since Claire got shafted on her first exclusive optional level, she gets it again. This time in the form of an ice based level with full on physics changes (slippery, but makes the dash a beast) and player controlled (and timed) moments of low gravity. If you've followed the tone of the previous optional gate bosses, it's pretty easy to figure out what this one is.

I'm also looking to get gamepad support built directly into the game so players won't have to use third-party software to get their controllers to work. I'll be borrowing Jeremy's controller that he has since the one I have is very unreliable when it comes to testing how things feel. I'm planning to let the D-Pad and left stick (if the controller has it) both control character movement and will see about tuning the left stick to feel right for that if that's what players prefer. The right stick, if I'm able to, will control Chao.

After Gate F is finished, which won't take very long, I'll probably move back to fixing up Gate C.

Game Dev Harassment
This is something that's gotten some attention lately, it's not new, but with the rise in social media, it's gotten a lot worse and more frequent. Here's two articles on the issue. One Two

It's sad, disgusting, disrespectful... it's a lot of things wrong. It's wrong when a developer changes something as small as 0.1 seconds on say, a gun reload time, and he/she recieves death threats from their players. It's wrong when developers don't want to interact with their players because these players are self-entitled twats who spew nothing but vile comments at them. I see it happening myself (not to me, I've had it good, though my audience is small, but I'm thankful that my audience gives me constructive feedback when they don't like how I've designed something instead of telling me I'm ) on various places throughout the Internet. Within the Planetside 2 forums, there's tons of disrespectful comments toward the developers. I stay away from those forums aside from patch notes these days because it's just angering to see how much negativity is there. One of the game designers during their most recent Friday Night Ops (which is a thing the devs do most Fridays where they highlight certain players, or Outfits(guilds) and play along with them, ask them questions and all that) mentioned this negativity being one of the reasons they choose to interact with the players in other places most of the time. (That being Planetside Universe, THE fan site for the game, and reddit.)

This guy here talks about why Call of Duty is made and changed the way it is and presents it in a very well done manner. I recommend checking it out. The reason I mention this here is simply to help raise awareness of this issue as it has become a big problem lately.

In closing, I found a hard covered pink journal completely new. It was just... there. I now use this for drawing up level designs and concepts, among various other DT related works, and probably non-DT stuff in the future. I don't know when, but soon(TM) I'll be posting a video on some of my methods for designing boss fights. Let's hope I can control the speed of my speech and not derp up the video quality. The odds are not in my favor.

8/17/2013

Less Video Games

Edit: (August 22, 2013) Today is my birthday. I demand many sacrifices.

In the last year, I've probably played more games than I had the 4 years prior to it. So, I've been playing a lot of games lately. However, it is safe to say that this has fallen back to what it was before, which means... my rapid development should return. It's partially why Gate 5 has taken so long to finish, though it's mostly due to it not being planned as well as it should have been. Many things had to be retuned along the way, both with discussion with the testers, and on my own with my internal build.

The release is still set for sometime in 2014. It'll get done, but the release date is still simply "Sometime around that year." I'll be able to give a better time once the project is a bit further along. Having Gate 5 finished will speed things up considerably, I'm currently finishing the final encounter. There's an escape sequence as well, but I consider it part of that final encounter.

DT3 Demo LP
Yep, someone else has done it. We've seen his LPs in the past. With this one, he's almost done. You can find ShadowSonicPSF LP here. He does voice commentary, remember, it's in Portuguese.

DT3's Easy Mode
I mentioned in a video that DT3 would have an easy mode and that it wouldn't be anything too fancy, most likely just a mode where damage to the player is cut in half. With its purpose to allow the player to either test things out a bit easier or to get through a tough section that they're having a lot of trouble with. (Like the case with the Shroud Lord. I've heard many people switched to easy for that encounter.)

Keep in mind that a few of these things may change, but here's how it is in the current test build.
  • Damage to the player cut in half from all sources.
  • AP gain is cut in half.
  • Weapon exp gain is cut in half.
  • No AP or weapon exp is gained for boss fights.
  • No money is dropped from enemies.
This mode is not meant to be played until it's needed by the player and even then, it's only meant to be a temporary aid. So, it is not available when starting a new game. It's gained more in the style of DMC where if the player loses enough, the easy mode unlocks. Its UI element is added into the Game Over menu, just like DT1 utilized it. The player will be able to freely switch in and out of it at any time from that menu once it is unlocked.

8/04/2013

Bad Video

There are now 2 birds that eat from my hand, and the one mentioned previously is even more friendly than before. She's landed on my hand a few times now as well. Still no video or even pictures, she still doesn't like the camera/phone when it's held up.

Gate 5 Stuff
Most of this is in video format. I'm not sure why the video quality is down to 240p. When it was first uploaded, it was higher. A few minutes after processing was done, the quality dropped a ton. Also I think I need a new mic. It's an old cheap one. Or I just need to get better at speaking into one and slow down. I never remember how fast I talk until I hear myself back.


7/02/2013

So Many Musics

Edit: (July 31, 2013) A new post will be posted in a few days when I am back in town. I wanted to get a post up yesterday, but there's a video along with it and I didn't have the time to edit it.

I was wondering if it would happen or not and it did. A grackle jumped on my hand. This one got friendly really fast, it was only the previous day of this event that she started approaching close enough to eat from my hand. A picture will come if I can ever get one of this. Most of the grackles shy away from the phone. We'll see about this one though, she's got no fear. She jumped up to my hand while I was getting food out for her and waited, impatiently, but waited nonetheless.

Also picked up and moved a very young grackle, was no more than 9 days old. It looks like it fell out of the nest a few days too early, but it looked really healthy and had no injuries. I sighted the mother feeding it on multiple occasions. I just relocated it a few feet to a better spot, where it scampered off into a bush. That's a much better place than out in the open. The mother still came down into the bush to feed it, so yay for that.

Musics
So if you've followed ocremix for the last few thousand years, you'll know they've been working on a huge album for Final Fantasy 6. Originally set to be released last December, it was released just a bit ago. You can get the whole thing here for free. Been listening to it and so far it's excellent, and I've still got a ton of tracks to go. As a player of DT, you all have no choice but to go and check this out. I found Smooth McGroove's theme this week to be very appropriate. This is a good week for video game music. Oh yes, the Opera House song is divided up among 3 tracks, and that whole set is quite a listen. The Opera Sequence itself being super amazing and impressive.

Rogue Legacy
So Jeremy found something to distract me from DT3. As if I don't have enough for that all ready. This game called Rogue Legacy. You can get it in that link or on Steam. It's basically a 2D side scrolling platformer rogue-like. You take control of a character to go through this castle full of the undead and traps in search of something you're not sure of yet, but there's loot! Inevitably, you will die. You are then brought to the title screen. But this is only the beginning of how amazing this game is. You choose 1 of 3 randomized characters, all with various perks and drawbacks, and at times, quirky traits... such as being gay. (I don't think that trait actually does anything, but I do smile when it's there.) The flavor text being, "Fan of the ladies." (Or guys depending on that character's gender.) Another being irritable bowel syndrome, which always makes me giggle far more than it should.

Anyway, this character that is chosen is the next heir of the previous character that just died in the castle. There's a skill tree that you can upgrade using money found in the castle. These upgrades extend to every character you use. After all that, you're brought back to the entrance to the castle. Upon entering, you'll notice that it isn't the same as before. Every entry causes the castle to randomize rooms and layouts. This game gets a huge recommendation from me. You really gotta play it to feel how well it's designed.

6/25/2013

An Assortment of Time

My current job isn't bad. I'm lucky to have good managers and people to work with. The job itself is easy and fairly boring and customers are of course horrid. The perks of my position is quite a bit of solitude, at least in the sense that people leave me alone. People tend to piss me off, so not a bad thing. However, I'd probably hate the job completely if it wasn't for the birds being around. I've gone over lots about the birds there that I don't think I need to go into another story about them for this. So my question; Is there something like the birds for you at work that keep you going back? (Other than a paycheck.)

Those Moments
There are times when developing where I find myself just staring at the screen. Despite knowing exactly what needs to happen next, nothing at all occurs. The next line of code just hangs there without an end, or that map remains an empty void. It's 1 in the afternoon and I've got lots of things set out to finish for the day, lots of high hopes. I look at the clock and it's suddenly 9 in the evening, so I look back at the screen, a single line of code has been finished. And then I'm angry with myself for wasting time.

Ever had one of those days where you can't get anything done? I'm not exactly sure what causes this loss of focus, but when it does occur, I know it's time to stop what I'm doing and give it some time before returning.

6/18/2013

Overtime

The birds following me around have become a thing for the customers at work. Apparently it is now well known among those that are returning customers. Also my manager knows... and doesn't care, even though he doesn't like the birds. +1

Another partial written post and the rest being done through video.


6/01/2013

A Video and a Game

First up, this was just finished yesterday by a friend of mine. He worked hard on this, and its got an original score for it as well. His blog has been linked before, but as a reminder, it can be found here.
Game Download: Dolphin Squadron



Click to enlarge






















The way you play is you gotta weaken your target and once you've done this, you suicide ram into it! Download link and a trailer are above. You gotta try it out to really understand it, but it's lots of fun.

DT3 Video
The rest of this is in video format.

5/20/2013

Big Anniversaries

My bird has learned a new trick. When he sees me inside the store, (as rare as that is) he'll wait outside the front doors for me. Luckily he has never attempted to come inside, though all I'd need to do is get him to follow me out if that ever occurred. I doubt he will, he seems very content with the outside.

Today is the 10th year anniversary of the best mmo ever made. That being the original Planetside.

No screenshots this time, this is mainly an announcement that I may do another video soon.

Although before I close this. I'd like to ask all DT3 demo players. (Or even if you didn't play it and are familiar with the other 2 games.) If you could add/remove/change one thing in DT3, what would it be?

5/16/2013

An Assortment of Stuff

My bird likes to fly super close, he's almost flown into me on 2 occasions. It's a good thing they can course correct really fast. He really likes to land close to eye level now too, him and the bird in the video from last post. They're getting very brave.

Looks like he's about to say 'Sup!"













Ponies and Something Else
If you've followed the Internet this week, you may have come across this. I don't really know what to think of it, but I know I won't be going to see it.

I came across this thing. It's supposed to be some headband to improve your focus, thereby improving your gaming ability. My issue with this, aside from the lack on information on the site and inability to come up with reliable google results, is the way it's being advertised. Gamers haven't identified with this type of marketing for years. I think someone needs to tell these guys to get into the 21st century. That I doubt it does anything considering the site has no real data. I somewhat have a feeling this is some attempt at trolling.

Sad Cat Diary
A link is all that needs to be done for this.

DT3 Progress
I know I haven't talked much about DT3 lately. It's not that there isn't anything to talk about, but I just don't want to give away so much. As before though, Gate 5 is still going. Here's some screenshots.




















It does have a few rule changes that I'll mention. The first one is that it uses checkpoints upon retrying. They utilize the same thing the Prime series did in that you will be fully healed up using one. To clarify, if you die in Gate 5, you do not restart at the beginning of the current map, but at the last activated checkpoint. Metroid's setup simply doesn't work for DT's normal style of gameplay and changing it up to match DT would remove the concept of Gate 5. This probably won't be the only time that this checkpoint setup will be used. There are two other locations in the game where this is planned.

The other thing changed is that all enemies in Gate 5 deal damage to you through your dash, which is disabled for about the first 20 minutes of it anyway. Jeremy informs the player upon regaining the dash of this change. Projectiles and traps are still avoidable in the usual method. Remember that the dash makes for a really handy and quick evasion.

To answer a frequent question about this Gate. It will not have a map like the Metroid games do. There will be a less detailed map available though. The first 2 Metroid games had no map and were of a much larger and maze like scale than this will be. It's not going to be very confusing without a map. Besides, I loved the NES days of drawing my own map. Have fun. :P

Planetside 2
Next week a rather large update will be hitting the game. If you didn't like the base connections of PS2 and were more fond of the original game's set up, rejoice that PS2 will be moving over to the lattice. Though it's not exactly identical to PS1, it never will be and shouldn't be. I'm very much in favor of the connection change since I feel it'll greatly help the flow of combat. Before this, most bases had around 5-6 connection, this has been brought down to about 3-4. In some cases, the small outposts are now a two way connection between the larger facilities. This creates a very defined front line of offense and defense when heading toward those facilities. Cutting off the enemy is still a very viable option, and really I feel it'll have far greater benefits than before due to having fewer options where you can attack from. This definitely won't fix all the current problems with the game, but it's a good step in the right direction. The change is only for Indar right now, Esamir and Amerish will get those changes sometime within the next few months it seems. (Hopefully very soon, even though it won't change Esamir all that much.)

5/08/2013

All About Birds


Lots of bird happenings lately. This guy here started eating out of my hand. He's pretty skiddish and I'm surprised he gets that close sometimes seeing how cautious he is all the time. Although he also doesn't like the phone so it's even more surprising that he stayed around for this. There are these times when he's not jittery at all, at these times, he's almost digging into the bag of food I have as I'm reaching in to get it for him. Most of the birds don't get close if I'm moving about at all.

Then we have this guy who follows me around sometimes. He's been getting really close for the last 2 months and refused to eat from my hand until recently. He likes to follow me around for awhile and often attempts communication. He does things a bit different than the other birds who were brave enough to eat directly from me though. Almost every time he does, he'll first bite or peck my hand once. Not hard, hes never broken skin, but it's a very consistent behavior. I have 3 assumptions on what it is, that being; It's a greeting, a warning of what he can do, or to establish dominance. The reason I thought of the last is he seems to be the dominant male in the area. He's almost always near the middle of where I work, usually up high, and typically always vocalizing. Far more than the other males in the area. When using the bill up posture, the other males will back down from him most of the time. He's also the biggest grackle there.

I've read up on someone else that had this same experience with a grackle. Would feed directly from his hand, and the bird would give a modest peck or bite first. His assumptions are the same as my first two assumptions.

All the Candies!
Here's a game that Slaix showed me. I don't want to say anything about it, otherwise I'll spoil things.

Also WhattayaBrian has picked up his DT3 demo LP again. He seems to be a pretty busy guy.

4/24/2013

Birds and Video Games


For the first time ever, I own a smartphone. It's an HTC Evo something or other. I've found it has quite a few uses, such as checking my Facebook and email while at work. Texting my roommates about random stuff that happens at work. Reading various articles while at work. Checking Planetside 2 test server stuff... while at work.

Most importantly though, taking pictures of grackles while at work. Its uses in reducing productivity are immense. In all seriousness though, being able to check these sorts of things when I'm away from my computer and in a moment of not having much else to do, it is a very handy device, and saves me time. Run-ons don't even care! Here's a random screenshot of something!

This can actually happen.










There really are a lot of birds in DT3.

Those Extra Things
Gate 5 is almost all based on the level design with very few major things happening until near the end. It follows closer to Super Metroid's method of progression in simply letting the player figure out where their new power up would allow them to go. It's split up in 3 major sections plus a hub. The only help given is which of these sections the player should be in.

There's times when I feel something extra would greatly enhance the player's engagement, even if the extra bit doesn't really have any major purpose. For example, in Gate 5, there's a scripted scenario around getting the Morph Ball. That segment of gameplay could just as easily work with the player simply grabbing the upgrade and that being the end of it. How do you guys approach situations like this?

A Thing About This
Anyone played Fez? It was that little platform where you shift the world around 90 degrees. So the link above is a review that are my thoughts almost exactly. While the review is a bit satirical and overly hateful at times, it hits on my main issue with the game. I disagree with the bit about the music being bad though, the reviewer seemed like he was getting his hate on during that segment. I felt the ambient music fit well with the empty, shallow gameplay.

But that aside, remember Ys3? It was pretty awesome and this remix does well in reminding me of it.

And while we're on the topic of music, Smooth McGroove did this.

4/15/2013

Writers Block


I can't hold off this post any longer cause I'd like to mention a new LP. Damn writers block. Does that count for blogging? I'll say yes. Before I go any further, I'll be out of town and unavailable this Wednesday, Thursday, and half of Friday.

Grackles
The male grackle mentioned in the last post is almost eating out of my hand. He has no problems running within a few inches of me now. What's fun and interesting for me, is after he's done eating, he'll stick around and try to communicate. This is a behavior I've found that's common with ravens and crows after having extended contact with a human. While we can't effectively communicate, I find it nifty they try.

Most of the birds around my workplace have paired up now. I don't know if the above bird found a mate yet, but often times when he approaches, so does a female, and it's the same one each time. He was also the first to greet me when I came to work yesterday.

A DT3 Demo LP
WhattayaBrian, who did a DT1 LP some time ago, has taken on doing a recorded run through the DT3 demo. It is mostly unedited, though at times, he'll bring the video to chipmunk voice speeds when repetitive actions are taken, such as failing to get an item or dying repeatedly. He does voice commentary throughout it and is easy on the ears. I've watched all of it so far, especially considering I'm in DT3 mode and seeing how someone plays (with commentary) can be the best feedback. Early level tweaks have occured due to his LP as well as implementing some of his good suggestions, as well as some minor changes due to my more asinine UI decisions.

In episode 8 of this, he streamed his gameplay to me while he was recording so we could do dual commentary. That was a lot of fun and it may happen again before the LP is over.

Sometime in the coming month, I should be doing another DT3 video, showcasing a few things.

Edited In (I've been meaning to mention this)
Some time after the trilogy is complete (maybe a couple months), I'll be giving out the project file for all 3 games. There's no reason to keep it to myself after I'm done with the game. But, and I'll say this again when the event occurs, I will not be supporting it. There's a lot going on with it and I will be giving very little help on how to use the project. I may have a document along with it that highlights a few tidbits, but that will be it. The code, specifically for DT1, is pretty bad. It's commented well. (Though that isn't consistent throughout.) I figure this question may come up, so there we go. Plus I've seen that people have searched for 'Distorted Travesty Engine'. There were 3 searches on that topic this month so far.

You will need to have the Standard version of Game Maker 8.1. The Lite version is not compatible with any of the DT games.

4/05/2013

Progress Comes With A Voice


The birds are all back. My 3 birds that usually hung around my work are all running about their daily routines and periodically stopping by to ask for food. Even the bird that ate from my hand is back daily now, so that's really nice to see again. One of them doesnt approach too often, but she's often seen collecting materials for building a nest. Most of the times that I see her on the ground, she's got a beak full of grass. Even one of the males have opened up to me and been closing the distance.

DT3 Progress
Gate 5 development has started recently, and like the times I started other gate levels, I actually put the progress on hold for about a week to address other problems with the game or just things that have been settling for awhile. On the Gate 5 stuff, I've had a lot of help from Ano0maly on making the Samus set more interesting, but without overpowering it compared to the Megaman set. He's been a lot of help and I'm sure his input will be great for the rest of the gate level.

Acapella
I don't really like it, but like all things, there are a few exceptions. A youtube user who goes by SmoothMcGroove does acapella for video game music and it sounds really good. For me, the best goes to his parody of a song by Fall Out Boy. This is something pretty awesome and fun to listen to. I guarantee it'll bring you a smile.

Something I've Been Asked on Occasion
Has been about my background with game development or multimedia in general. My first 'real' dive into games was with C++, which after having messed with quite a handful of languages, I feel it is a horrid language to start someone with. The progression the class went was:
- Hello World
- Variables, Strings, Input, Output
- Structs
- Classes
Compress this all into about 6 weeks in a class intended for people who have never seen a line of code. There's a few small details mixed in the list above, but those are the main points. For people this class was intended for, it went far too fast for most of us to understand what we were really doing. Going into object classes, it wasn't explained well what that was really doing or the power behind object orient programming. Having taken a look at the curiculum at a later date, I realized it wasn't the instructor who was giving us hell.

Visual Basic, or even Javascript, (to me anyway) is a better language to start someone with.
[/randomstuff]

After that, I went into art... yep... It was world modeling and texture painting. I really enjoyed texture painting, though this was before the days of normal mapping, parallax mapping, and all the millions of other layers we have today. I enjoyed painting the diffuse map. A lot of my 3D days were spent in Unreal, making maps and scripts for that and trying to make the Karma math engine not suck. (Unreal Engine 2.5) I enjoyed making maps that featured a series of Tomb Raider like traps, one leading into the other. I'd upload those maps with the associated scripts here, but those have sadly long been lost into digital nothingness.

After that, I discovered the magic of frien scripting. And that's where we are now.

3/21/2013

Stuff About DT, Finally

The DT trilogy isn't easy as we've all seen; The difficulty is one of its notable aspects. It's planned to have the finale be the hardest over all, though I hope for the right reasons. That aside, an interesting topic came up about things like the Death encounter in DT3. Based on fan input, it has been very well recieved, which I'm super happy about. It's the highlight of the DT3 demo. (To me anyway.) It's been said by pretty much everyone that the only way to get through that boss fight is through skill and practice, there really is no substitute. This is what I was going for. There has been one critique on the fight though, but it isn't about the execution, it's about what to do when you have a player that simply can't keep up with the precision it asks for. NegativeZero said one of the great things about DT1 is it had ways of getting these players through the game. The system and mechanics were more open to experimentation. There was the easy mode that was a good fallback if someone needed. Healing (while lame in my opinion :P) was an option mid bossfight. There were many other indirect ways in DT1 of getting around obstacles that DT3 does not allow.

It wasn't to say that DT3 was bad for this, nor was it that DT3 was limiting. However, DT3 was designed to be more focused than the first, and it does give the player less options in that regard. The discussion was leading to things that could be put into DT3 to assist with moments like the Death encounter that could be a major roadblock.

Jerry's day is about to suck.










And look what's back in the sand. No worries, your retribution will come... eventually.

Talking to Fans
I'm still trying to get the hang of this. I used to think it would be good to be transparent to the players, but I've found the more I talk with people, the better they respond to the game as well.

I found this talk to be really awesome and interesting. Not in how she makes money, but in how she interacts with her fans. It's really neat.

Side Bar
On the garbage section, 'Music Credits' has been added that takes you to the music credits list for all three games. These will continue to be updated.

3/15/2013

Video Postings

Edit: (March 17, 2013) This needs just a bit more to reach its goal. :]
There Came An Echo

Edit: (Same day) Look below.

I'm getting even less creative with post titles.

Ever since I accepted Slit08's challenge of doing a no damage run of 'Think & Act Fast' others had latched onto seeing that happen too. I had done it way back during its first creation, but I don't record my playtest sessions. Well here it is. 33 attempts of agony and despair only to realize that it is completely impossible to do. The video will definitely prove to all the haters of that map that they were indeed right. Wait no, that's not what it does.

Super zoomed out look at T&AF.






There will be more videos posted periodically now. I need to learn to project my voice through the mic better though. My voice tends to trail off and that's not the mic's fault, I just suck at talking apparently.

DT3 Stuff
So here's a screenshot.
This is a really boring screenshot.










This is a work in progress shot of a new desert zone on the mainland. In the final version, you'll actually (like most places) be able to get a sneak peak of this area very early on, as it connects to the Magical Hills. (Area east of Central City.) In this, the player will have to contend with the heat. If the player doesn't find a water source after a certain amount of time, it's game over. Of course, for gameplay and plot convenience, there will happen to be various pools of water that one can hop into cause deserts totally have random pools of water just strewn about. This is another 'feature' from a game I made way back in the day.

Another thing that game had was a snowy level that used this same mechanic, but with keeping warm instead. The player's temperature would rise much slower, and hostiles tended to hang around the campfires where you would have to stay warm for a moment, making them somewhat confined combat areas that you had to fight over. That effect wasn't achieved very well though. In that game, having the character temperature reach an extreme wasn't instant death like in DT, but HP dropped at an extremely fast rate.

Slight Content Cut
This isn't nearly as significant as the other, and if it wasn't mentioned, no one would even know content had been cut. Throughout the game world is a place called the 'Cave Network'. One of the entrances can be found in the demo, though it had nothing in it. It has 4 entrances, and although they are all connected, all 4 must be found in order to fully 'complete' its challenge. Each entrance had a few set of challenges before the connection to the rest was made, eventually the place can also act as another way to quickly get around the world. The number of entrances has been cut to 3.

The reason one was cut is it doesn't have a place in the set of challenges I have set for the place and is redundant. One focuses heavily on platforming, another on combat, and the last on puzzles. (Mind and math puzzles, no worries, we won't get too crazy with that.) The fourth was going to be exploration based (and have a mix of the 3), but this is very unnecessary to have. The entire game has this focus as well as the fifth Gate, which I'm sure you all know about. Exploration can simply be blended into the other 3.

An Article
This article.
I found what he said interesting and true of not just shooters. This is the feeling I had when playing Brawl after coming from years of playing Melee. A lot of the skill and competitive aspect that I loved in Melee was sadly missing from Brawl.

3/07/2013

Video & Audio

So I didn't do this with the last blog post. Since I have a new computer and can record again, I wanted to upload something. It's nothing special, but here it is. All stuff that wasn't in the demo, but no story spoilers. Yay for being able to record again!

Amnesia
I finally got around to finishing Amnesia and I highly recommend it if you love horror games. I think I'm one of the last few who hadn't played it that was into horror. It actually got to me unlike most other horror titles. The only other games to really freak me out were the Silent Hill games. I'm into the horror games that get into your head, where the game doesn't actually have to put you in danger, but makes you think you are. Where you don't want to turn around, because you're afraid something might be there. Amnesia does a really good job of this.

It's a game that I actually preferred to keep the lights on, which I don't like doing with these games. This is the first horror game I've played on a PC, at least with headphones on. Most of the time, I'm on a TV, 10 ft. back with standard speakers. I find there's a different level of immersion when you're right in front of your monitor with decent headphones. The sound in Amnesia was phenomenal. When timed with the subtle actions in the game, it was chilling.

Your character has a sanity level. (Like Eternal Darkness.) When he sees unsettling things or is in the dark for too long, his sanity drops. Staying in the light, progressing forward, or solving puzzles would keep it up. Staying in the light, however, means that you can be seen. When your sanity drops too low, your view blurs and the controls become slippery. If he continues to decline, he'll simply fall over for about 10 seconds and will only crawl, mixed with a high pitched sound that cuts out the rest of the audio in the area.

I've found it's scarier when you don't know what's chasing you. The unknown is always more frightening, and Amnesia was well aware of this. Simply looking at the monsters in the game will blur the view and drop your sanity significantly. There's a section where you have waist high water and of course something is in there. You can't see what it is, but you know it's moving around as you can see the splashes and hear it as well. Sometimes a shadow will follow you, which of course, that is hardly visible, but you know it's there, and you know you have to get away from it.

2/25/2013

More Stories


Finally more bird stories. Yesterday, I watched a grackle set off a car alarm multiple times. He'd fly to the car, set off the alarm, though I'm not sure how he was doing it. Then he'd perch next to it and wait. As soon as the alarm turned off on its own, he'd fly back down and set off the alarm again. I watched him do this 4 times. I'm guessing he just liked the sound... or he's trolling. The latter being the one, I hope.

The flocks are still moving about a lot and won't start to settle for another few weeks. I haven't had the same daily birds around for quite some time, but last week, one of the birds I had multiple interactions with those months back had approached me. I was surprised she remembered me after 2 months, but I may be underestimating their long-term memory. I haven't researched anything about how grackles short-term and long-term memory is. I know doves have a fairly bad long-term memory. From my experience with grackles, they have no problems with the short-term, but I've yet to do any sort of extensive testing. There's really only 3 females that I can recognize and they need to be within a certain distance for me to see their markings and patterns. Behavior is a good indicator as well, but right now when there's quite literally over 1000 of them where I work, it's hard to find my birds based on this, and I imagine with all the vocalizing the males are doing, it's hard for them to focus on much more than hearing their breathren and finding food. This is speculation though. During the spring and summer, there's only a handful of them around, while the males will take to the outside of the nesting ground, which there so happens to be one where I work.

While I found the above interesting, something even more amazing happened a few days after that. Another one of my 3 birds approached me as well, but this time, I was at my apartment complex. I had wondered about environment and if they would only approach me at work or only associate who I was within that environment. This confirmed/rejected tons of thoughts I had about this. I live about 1.5 miles away from work. (That's 2.41km for those of you that use a superior measuring system.) Again, it had been a few months since I had seen this bird. I haven't seen her since that day, but it was really nifty to see that. None of the males aside from the one I had seen every day last summer will interact with me. Hopefully he comes back, he's got a really easy marking to identify.

One of the things I've been observing and making guesses on, are the way grackles communicate. There are recognizable sounds that are associated with specific behaviors. These are a lot easier to identify in the summer when the females are teaching their young how to catch food, and before that when the mating pairs are gathering. Mainly due to the lower amount of communication going on, at least vocally. Right now, just before the sun begins to set, there will only be a handful of males gathered at set locations vocalizing. This makes making catching certain sound patterns easier than when the sun is setting. At that time, there are a good thousand of them around, there's just too much sound congestion to make out the individuals.

This paper goes into detail about these things, some of which I had figured out on my own, but this goes a lot further. It's a long read.
http://www.unc.edu/home/rhwiley/pdfs/CommunicationGrackles.pdf

New Computer
It works and is very fast. Much faster than any other computer I've owned. Compile and run times are super fast now. Not much else to say about it other than it reliably plays games at their intended frame rate. This was the first computer I've built, a process that really wasn't all that enjoyable, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing. It took me roughly 4 hours to get it all together.

Side Bar Changes
This has been there for awhile, but I'll draw attention to it. The Contact Me link brings you to a page listing various ways of doing what the link title says.
Slaix' DT Playthrough has been replaced with a link to a page of all the known playthroughs, (that I know of) whether or not they have been finished. Listing is alphabetical order and DT2 playthroughs have been added.

2/16/2013

Last Post... On This Computer

Edit: (February 19, 2013) Typing this from the new computer. Think I've got all my drivers set up.

The parts for the new computer will be here on Monday most likely. It's gonna be nice being able to do everything from one computer again. I wasn't able to record video very well, and if I did, I couldn't get any sound. The computer wouldn't edit sound at all, so I'll finally be able to make sound again without it being a hassle. I'm actually completely unable to do anything with DT on this computer now. Compiling typically kills the computer every time now. Saving the project has a high chance of corrupting it. Yay for having a bazillion back ups all the time. I do local back ups all the time and it never goes more than 2 days without it being backed up somewhere else. It gets a back up on a USB thumb drive monthly. That used to be more frequent, but I've found monthly is fine for that since it's always in other accessible places as well. I'd continue with DT's code on this computer through a text editor like ConTEXT, but I don't like writing a ton of code without debugging it first. I typically code a function/routine and then debug it before moving on. By the time I get the new computer, I'd have a bunch of code and finding where the inevitable bugs are would be more work in the long run I feel.

So lately on that other old computer, I've been playing games on my steam list that I've neglected for years. A friend had gifted me one of the Humble Indie Bundles about a year back. (I believe it was Bundle 4 and it came with 3, so yeah, lots of games.) Tried out Cave Story+, but having already played through it twice way back in 2006 (or was it 2005?), I put it down pretty quick. It has a hard mode, but the only thing different that I saw was there were no health boosters and the missiles weren't there. I was hoping for something a little more instead of simply removing health boosters. That just turns the game into a no-damage run. If you really like Cave Story though, it's worth checking out for the extra stuff. It's kind of like going from the original DT2 to the new one released a few months back. Same content for the most part, with some challenges and extra fluff.

Finally decided to finish all of VVVVVV. I typically stopped at the escort missions. (Yes, I hate escort missions that much.) I liked it, but the slide really threw me off on a lot of things. The game seemed to demand pixel perfection in some parts, and that slide just got in the way. If I had played this before making DT1, I might have reconsidered Jerry's slippery physics. (Probably not.)

A marble physics game called NightSky. Played all of it in one sitting like VVVVVV. It was pretty nifty and the levels were well made aside from one somewhere near the middle of the game.

There's a few others, but I won't mention them, aside from my favorite of the bunch. A little game called Crayon Physics Deluxe. I found the game encouraged player creativity in nearly all of its scenarios. It does a good job of showing you new rules and things you can do as you move on. It's $20, so that's quite a hefty price for an Indie game, but check out its demo and if you feel it's something you could really get into, I'd say go for it. That or wait for the steam deals as the game is about 4 years old at this point and it'll be on/off those often I'm sure. I've managed to unlock its final level that requires 120 stars. Took me 7 hours, but it was fun trying to figure out the 1 object solutions.

If you like numbers and charts, check out this steam user analysis tool. It just shows you how many games you have on your steam profile, the percentage of them you've actually played. (Or how many you've shamefully neglected.) And tons of other things. My profile lies... sorta, I played Half Life 2 before getting steam and Amnesia I've played outside of my steam account. Though I haven't finished it, so eventually that'll be added to the played side of things.

DT3 Development Stuff
Playing Crayon Physics Deluxe reminded me of what I was originally going to do with the beginning of DT3. It was still going to be what it is now, with the player not being able to jump, however Jeremy was going to allow you to make moving platforms (limited by #) and move them around at times to get Jerry to the Jump Boots. I can't remember anymore why I decided to remove that aspect of the scenario, but that idea hasn't been completely thrown out. It may show up later on, or the beginning might get an edit with that put back in. I know it wasn't a technical reason to not go with it.

Next time, I'll be back with new equipment!

2/09/2013

New Stuff

A friend of mine said something that I identified with. I believe it speaks for itself. Online, he goes by Rathskellar.

"Gamer.
At it's simplest, it means someone who plays and loves video games.
Deeper still, it's the common bond of those who chose a hobby that's often misrepresented and incorrectly maligned in the media. One that's not necessarily the most popular, and likely to be dismissed.
It's a title that brings people together in a world where it doesn't matter who you are, or where you're from to a world where what you do matters. A world where the only difference in status comes from your own choices and skills.
That's why as a gamer, this does make me angry when I see that label co-opted by those who trivialize it, or are not actually gamers. It's not about who you are on the outside, but who a person is on the inside. The gaming industry and its fans worked hard to help our fandom spread, and we do stand against those who would attempt to buy in hypocritically."


What does this mean for you?

Computer
I will finally be getting a new computer this month. Not sure when, but definitely soon. To the testers (I know I haven't been able to talk to you guys lately), this transition may slow down the next build a little, but in the long run, will speed up workflow by A LOT. To put some things forth with what I sometimes have to go through with this computer. There is about a 20% chance the computer will blue screen upon running the current full build of DT3. Lately when I make something new, specifically when it's very code driven and not level design driven, I will often make it in the base DT engine without any other resources as trying to run the full game apparently kills the computer. There are loads of other issues this computer is going through. I'm unable to install things beyond roughly 50mb. This is a problem that has persisted for about a year and been getting worse and worse. Some might be asking how the mess I play Planetside 2. That's done on another computer that Jeremy owns. It barely runs Planetside 2 though. I get roughly 15fps in most fights. I tend to stay away from big ones since it goes to about 8fps. The DT problem is curcumvented like stated above, but it won't be long before this computer completely flips out on me. The game is backed up daily just in case anything at all decides to die. This computer will, however, be kept around for side stuff that will also boost workflow. Jeremy is a beast with building computers and he's got stuff lined up for me. We'll be ordering parts today most likely. I've needed updated tech for years anyway, it's about the right time to do so. Also on a good note, I'll be running Windows 7, so I might be able to troubleshoot any remaining issues that DT3 may have with the OS. There are many many MANY other problems with the computer than those listed above. It's not virus related, it's just old/bad hardware. It chokes at the weirdest things these days.

Anyway, I should finally have Chapter 10 done in a week or so as long as the world permits it. Which means over half the project is finished. Lots of stuff planned that I think will be pretty nifty.
Someone asked if DT3 will have a section like the first game's Primary Memory where the player is given his 11th hour super power. The answer is yes, but I won't elaborate on that. As for screenshots, I'll be willing to post them again once we're out of Chapter 10 content, and as I've done lately, no boss fight shots.

2/03/2013

So Much Video Games

Edit: (February 04, 2013) Something I forgot to mention. The Dropbox download for the full version of DT2 works again. For some unexplainable reason, the archive broke. That is now an option again for those that can't connect to Filefront.

Nothing to report on the birds aside from they swarm the skies at sundown. It's a nice thing every night that I get to see since I work outside most of the time. So glad that Texas has mild winters.

DT3 Development and Testing
Is going well and picking up the pace despite my larger social/gaming life these days. (Aside from this last week where I've done almost nothing on the game.) For the topic of testing DT3, I've had a few requests to do so here and there. However, I've had to turn down pretty much all of them. I'd like to keep the testing team very small. I have accepted a few based on their past critiques on the previous games aside from those that got in early. So on that, there will be no new testers brought in. The current team is great. All of them having differing play styles and wildly differing gaming abilities. Their viewpoints and perspectives of the game being different from each other is a welcome thing as I get a lot of different suggestions and feedback. It goes without saying that they don't all agree 100% on many of my choices for the game, which none of us expect. They are definately helping shape the game in a big and positive way. I sometimes worry that I don't give them enough credit.

Slaix: "You cannot keep pathos in writing for the life of you."
He's so mean to me.

Sword Art Online
I saw Jeremy watching this on Hulu the other day and asked what it was. It's another show like .Hack and such where people are stuck in an online game, though Sword Art goes into the psychological aspects of playing these games, which made it more interesting for me to watch. I've not seen the first few episodes, but it was still easy to follow and everything was coherent. It explores a lot of different themes, but so far (18 episodes in) has been handled well. You can find it on Hulu and Crunchyroll, it will be subbed, which I normally don't like.

I would say more about DT3, but things are spoilery right now if I do. It's just content being made and lots of it. The testers have all said they really like Chapter 10 though. I'm hoping the last bit keeps that going. If only I'd speed up development...

1/01/2013

Into the New Year

Edit: (January 12, 2013) Heads up. There probably won't be any other posts for January. Still making the game though. :]

No bird news this time and this is going to be a short post.

There hasn't been a screenshot for a long time, so let's open up the new year post with one.











As you can see, everyone's love/hate obstacle makes a return in DT3, this time half way through the game. They don't show up for very long and aren't used in the same way as the other two games as much. Most of the rough stuff will only be showing up in an optional level, one which is a counterpart to 'Think and Act Fast', cause I just love my players. Other than a fake screenshot in Hadriex' interview with me, this will be the only shot shown of this place. The new HUD element in the top-right corner displays all the info you'll ever need on which color zone the game wants you to be in next. It counts down and once the countdown reaches a certain threshold, the color which is already highlighted as shown above, will begin to spin and let you know that you need to be somewhere. Base damage is 16 (4 hearts) for not being where you need to be and like the previous games, it ignores your current damage state. Brown has been replaced with yellow due to feedback on previous renditions of this. The colors in this game don't matter, but to keep it consistent with past encounters of this, I decided to keep the colors and sequence the way it was. As said in a post sometime back, I'll be much more careful with the level design when this gimmick is present. I'm aware that not many liked the color zones, but I'd like to try my hand at the concept once more.

For just a moment, I thought of having only 3 colors. (red, yellow, blue) Since in DT3, the color zones can move, the colors would overlap and show a secondary color. I'm sure you see where this was heading. For obvious reasons, this never made it past the 'Oh that's an idea' phase.

Ponies
This week's pony episode prominently featured Applejack and Spike. It was nice to see the show focus on some of the background characters for once.