Edit: (December 18, 2010) You guys have probably noticed I've been updating the game practically every day for the last few days. That is because you guys seem to be working over-time in finding bugs (myself included). Not a bad thing. Version 22.214.171.124 fixes a bug with Kudeku that made the animation loop forever and makes a very minor change to two other skills.
126.96.36.199 - Fixes a crash bug caused by a sound on the train and fixes a minor issue with Wave of Awesome.
188.8.131.52 - The big hit detection update, some graphical updates with custom sprites by OkageSK, plus many other small bugs.
Just want to keep the most up to date version on here right now.
Edit: (December 16, 2010) The update that was uploaded has all the changes made below and a few others, I will list the changes. The new hit detection is in place. The Veiled Detritus theme has been changed. Then of course the sprites from OkageSK. He changed the Muffin sprites, and made a sprite edit for Jerry during the Muffin sequences, which have also been changed. Probably best of all is the custom sprite for Jerry during the intro to Black Rock. It was made in reference to the NES Ninja Gaiden sequences when Ryu approaches the fortresses. It looks great and since this is only viewable one time in-game, I have a video of it here. I'll take out that annoying white line on the left of the video sometime... maybe. Oh yeah... this is not the surprise referenced earlier. As far as work done to DT itself, this should be it.
Edit: (December 14, 2010) I made a change to DT that needed to be there since the beginning. Until now, when an enemy takes damage, it cannot be hit again till it is no longer flashing red, regardless of how many attacks you throw at them. This is no longer the case, each new attack you use will now damage the enemy. Attacks can still multi hit the enemy, but that time has been boosted. For example, Mental Insurrection no longer double hits (however it has a slight boost in power, yay cutting through defense :P ). Some skills have been rebalanced to reflect this update. This also does change Metropolis a bit. You can still blast them to bits like you could before, but your attacks have a slightly longer delay before they multi hit. Mental Insurrection still double hits them. Skills like 'Flame Pillar' were made for this type of system. I was just too shitty of a coder back then to do this. (Even though this was incredibly simple to set up.) Overall, this does boost your damage output a bit and truly lets you stun-lock enemies like you're supposed to. Again, that's what 'Flame Pillar' would be used for. You can lock them in that and still attack them with whatever other abilities you'd like. This update will be available sometime later. For the next bit of news... ... ...
Some of you in the rrr community know of OkageSK, he has been fixing up a few sprites, creating new sprites, franken-sprited a bit, and is currently making some nifty custom art for a certain part of the game. Most of it is done, I'm just waiting on one last animation set from him that will definitely be pretty awesome looking in game. A big thanks goes out to him for all the work he's done. (He replaced my awful Muffin sprites too.)
A video showing some of the things you can do with the new system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pqJTN26uxA
Edit: (December 12, 2010) Wow, so apparently 'Wind Burst' has been working incorrectly this entire time. It is supposed to auto-destroy when it collides with a wall, something I acknowledged a long while back, but turned a blind eye to. The other is it's supposed to increase its velocity as it goes out. For some reason I made a typo in my code, not enough of one to cause a crash, but enough for the spells effects to be ignored completely. (Even though the actual code for it was correct all along.) I don't really know how I overlooked that this entire time... The difference is the spell has more range and speed with the offset of being destroyed when coming into contact with level surfaces. Anyway, it's not a huge concern to upload a new update for that right now, just something humorous to share since it induced quite a big facepalm on my part.
I've got a surprise for everyone coming up sometime later this month. (It could be next month depending on how busy things get.) It does involve DT and was something that was requested, though I'm very very sure that it is not at all what the requesters thought.
The bullethell is still being made, I'm just splitting my development time. This helps keep me from getting burned out and the ideas from getting stale so fast. Who knows, I may release a tech demo of the bullethell before the thing mentioned above.
Anyway... forget about all that for now, I might make a separate blog for various things. I want to keep this blog to only stuff about DT and stuff related to it. If I happen to make it, I'll link to it from here. That's it for now, no screenshots so this post is fairly boring for those of you that don't like walls of text without supplemental images. Anyway, Christmas is coming up, be safe, have fun, and eat cookies during the holidays.
Anyway, I'm just a random DT fan, but I would like to report a bug: During boss battles, if you die and select "retry boss", the music gets messed up. It appears to play backwards or something for a while, then just stops entirely. It didn't do this in the old version though... Do you know what could be causing it? Is the game streaming the audio improperly for some reason?
Weird, and that is only on boss battles right?
If that's the case, I can try having it either preload all of the boss themes in or just one since those are last on the load list. (second option probably wouldn't work) I could also have it load in the boss theme completely just before the boss starts.
Yeah, the music seems to be working fine everywhere else, it only gets glitchy when I select "retry boss". (If I select "retry from room entry", it's fine) I guess preloading should work; I don't really mind extended load times.
Try this: It will preload the boss themes, just put it in the same folder as the other DT exe. (You don't need to delete anything) I noticed it chuged a bit right when I started playing, then that subsided after about 15 seconds. Loading takes roughly 5 seconds longer, give or take depending on cpu speed.
Note: The download is just the exe so it is a light download.
Thanks, it's fixed now. :) I'll give some feedback and my final thoughts on the game once I finish it.
One thing that you might want to include in the next patch, though: you make a minor but very common grammar error throughout the game -- you write the possessive form of "it" as "it's". The correct form is "its" (no apostrophe), to avoid confusion with the contraction "it's", which does use an apostrophe. It's rather minor and a lot of people make it, but it's still rather jarring since your grammar is very good otherwise.
Totally understandable since it bugs me actually. It's <- :P done a lot better later on (around the Metropolis stage and up) since I was trying to be more aware of those types of mistakes. Looks like I'll need to go scan through the dialogue and fix those earlier mistakes. Actually didn't know they were still there, thanks. :)
Most of them seem to be in the enemy scans, actually, so you should probably check those. I'm pretty sure there's at least one instance where there should be an apostrophe in "it's", but there isn't. o_O (Again, I think it's in one of the scans)
Still having trouble trying to beat the Shroud Lord, dear gods that thing is hard. (How in the world are you supposed to survive the bullet spam it unleashes once it's at half health? D: I've survived it maybe twice but I'm always in critical health and die quickly in the next phase of the battle.)
Another bug: I can't seem to purchase Agility. I have 2 skill points right now, but clicking on the Agility slot in the skill tree just gives me a buzzer sound. Do you know what could be causing the problem?
(Chugging away at the Spire now, timed missions make me want to gouge my eyes out. ;_;)
The Agility thing is really weird. The code is definitely right, I double and triple checked, and even tested it with various amounts of skill points and other skills obtained/not obtained. Something is bugging that up. >_< If you really REALLY want it and the game keeps refusing, (it recovers dash points 1/6 of a second faster btw) email me and I'll tell you which key to change in the gamedetails.ini to get it.
For the Shroud Lord, (that's the hardest boss in the game btw) that bullet storm has a lot of large gaps that you can get through without even moving or with minimal effort. Put the game on Easy to test it out and observe what he's doing there. It never changes the pattern and is persistent regardless of difficulty. And wow, you're really far into the game, you must definitely be enjoying it. Sorry about all the issues you're running into. :(
*DarkYoshi is a shitty coder* :D
Only 1/6 of a second? o_O That's practically worthless, I'll pass. (Most abilities don't really seem to do much; how much faster do the Spirit Maser and [Element] Mastery skills recharge your energy? And how much does Perfection/Virtue/[Element] Craft reduce the cost, for that matter?)
...I am on easy actually. ;_; I'm not very good at twitchy reflex games, so I rarely set the difficulty to anything higher than easy. I haven't even touched normal, and I don't want to know how maddening the game becomes on even that difficulty. ;_; As for the bullet storm, I see what you mean, but even if I can dodge one set, the other diamond's shots usually hit me. It just gets worse once more diamonds appear. :( I usually resort to dashing through the really hard bits, but because the bullets are everywhere I end up dashing straight into a bullet more often than not. >_<
Oh and don't worry, I barely know anything about coding but the game seems pretty solid to me. If I hadn't been told it was a Game Maker game I probably wouldn't have guessed. :)
P.S. About the skill capsules in the sky base, do you need to get to the target score shown on each level in order to get them? Because in that case I am a sad panda since I'm bad at Shoot-Em-Ups (mainly because I haven't played many). I'm also not really sure how to increase the score much; even when I shoot down almost every enemy and collect almost every star, my score is only, like, half of the target score. o_O
The Element Craft spells drop the cost by 12% each. (24% total)
Element Mastery gives you back 12 more elemental energy per second.
If you have both Spirit Master levels, you will get back 9 more energy per second.
These may not sound like much, but over time, they can help. Still, they are low because this game is largely about the players skill with the game, the boosts and augments are there to assist a tiny bit.
The code for spirit recovery looks like this:
-baseSpiritRecharge is 0.25.
-Spirit Master is the level you have that skill at.
-comboCharge is (hitCombo/100) to a max of 1.01. (Basically, keeping your hit combo above 100 gives you back 33 energy per second.)
These numbers may not seem very high, but they are done 30 times a second.
Oh right, I did a terrible thing with the shooter level and didn't tell the player that the point items are based on your graze count. The more you graze, the more they are worth... baaad on my part. And now that I'm thinking about it, time to document that in my bug list so I know in future updates, to let the player know about that in game.
Yeah, I noticed that skills, like most powerups, are only supposed to be minor augments (20 extra spirit energy is worthless). Sometimes it gets ridiculous though -- you should really raise the percentages for Sharpen, Iron Body, and Free Spirit, because most of the time, your base damage that you're taking/giving is 100, meaning that it'll literally increase/decrease it by...2 points. For a grand total of...6 points. That's not really worth investing my skill points in; I only started on the Defense and Power trees after I had maxed out everything else. The Craft and Mastery skills do seem significant though, which is why I always go for them first.
What *is* "graze count", exactly? How do you improve it? o_O
P.S. A pattern I noticed; many enemies that are direct servants/manifestations of The Darkness (i.e. Distorted Wisps, the Shroud Lord) are weak to wind and water, but resistant to fire and earth. Is there any particular reason for this?
It has definitely been a thought of mine to at least double all of those like Sharpen. One thing to note though is that 6% is calculated after elemental weakness. Again, over time it adds up. Though doubling the values would make them far more worthwhile and not change the gameplay in a significant way, which is what I typically go for. (At least with DT.)
Grazing is when a bullet grazes by your ship, but doesn't actually touch your hitbox. A good place to try it in DT is the beginning of the 'Data Segment Entry'. The enemies there shoot directly at you, stay in one spot and move to the side slightly just before the first bullet hits you.
There's a pattern with most of the enemy weakness/resistance. It's typically to cue the player in on what an enemy weakness would be without them having to scan each and every one. A lot of the logic for it is abstract, but to me, it works. Machines for example are always resistant to wind, but weak to earth. There is one I believe that breaks this convention. When I do that, I'm typically pulling something from the original source the sprite or character came from that explains it. Which really means, if you've played whatever game that sprite came from, you'll probably understand why I chose the stats for it. As for why anything Darkness related being weak to water and wind. The Darkness, for most of the game, is looked at to be evil or some embodiment of evil. I associate this with fire the most, the opposite of this would be water. I typically have a secondary weakness/resistant element, earth is more associated with fire (to me) so wind needs to cover the secondary weakness. So yeah, a somewhat odd method, but it creates a consistent pattern that I like for the game. Another pattern, flying enemies are weak to wind and resistant to earth. This comes from flying enemies being resistant to earth spells in Final Fantasy and most RPGs. That plays into the Shrouds weakness changing from water to wind depending on what form they are using.
Agh, the Spire is absolutely infuriating! This is a problem I notice with many of your longer levels, as well; having to repeat a level over and over again just to get to the part you're having trouble with is neither fun nor challenging, merely frustrating. Having one checkpoint per level is rather generous, but because your levels can vary wildly in length, this is a bad metric. VVVVVV was challenging, but it was rarely frustrating because all levels were of the same length and checkpoints were absurdly abundant. For your future projects, I would highly recommend adding more checkpoints -- again, forcing a player to restart a long level simply because they failed right at the end is fake difficulty and, though DT is quite long in its own right, fake longevity. Likewise, bosses that take forever to beat are similarly frustrating -- perhaps one of the reasons I can't beat the Shroud Lord is because its final lifebar takes far too long to whittle down while his lasers of doom cut through mine like butter.
Just my opinion though. You can do whatever you want.
(...Speaking of the Shroud Lord, I can generally make it past the bullet storm now, but the laser storm it summons once it gets down to its last life bar is just... x_x Are you even supposed to dodge that, or are you just supposed to attack frantically and hope you kill him before he kills you?)
The laser storm is not his final phase. Much like how every other phase had something going on between life bars, the laser storm is what goes on between that phase.
The lasers really aren't TOO bad if you can catch a pattern with them, after that it just requires preciseness in order to dodge them. You're still probably going to get hit a bunch of times, though. :P
I was able to beat him on Normal, and I'm going to have to beat him on hard, so it's most certainly possible. Just incredibly difficult. Just keep trying at it, you'll take him down eventually.
Hooray, I beat the game! TV Tropes didn't lie, the final boss was awesome (and hilarious). Unfortunately I didn't get to see the full ending 'cause I suck, so now I'm just going for 100% completion. Currently chugging away at the Spire, that dungeon makes me want to strangle something. (I am honestly tempted to just give up; I did the math and I'm apparently not even halfway to the top... Also, I doubt I'll get 100% completion anyway because I can't get the Sky Base skill capsules for the life of me, and I also can't find the last skill capsule in Veiled Detritus or the Spirit Aura in Distortion Reckoning. Oh well...) Anyway, I'll give my mini-review/feedback thing now (will contain spoilers, obviously):
Writing and Characters
Superb. Having a central plot in the first place automatically places you in the top 10% of indie games, and it's written rather well. The plot is not spectacular, but I was legitimately surprised by many plot twists and often wondered what would happen next. In addition, the banter between Jerry and Jeremy, as well as their constant snarkiness, is hilarious, and though they don't get a lot of character development, they sound like real people. I noticed a few unexplained plot threads/things that could have been foreshadowed better, though, most notably the fake Syrus. It's sprung on you completely out of nowhere, and there is practically no buildup to it. I was very confused about that, and I think it could have been explained a bit better. (And what happened to the real Syrus, in that case?) The reversal of roles between The Darkness and The Artist was also rather sudden; I think that some more foreshadowing about The Darkness just looking for self-preservation could have been added, and I found The Artist's goals somewhat vague... There is also one weird thing that I was looking forward to seeing explained, but wasn't: When you enter Distortion Reckoning, Jeremy seems to say something along the lines of "We were just fakes. The Darkness has killed us all." While it makes for a shocking scene, Jeremy never explains it again. What did he mean by saying that Jerry and himself were "fakes" and that The Darkness "killed them all"? I assume he meant that The Darkness captured everyone, but there's not really any followup to that dramatic line, which is a bit of a let-down.
Graphics and Sound
I don't consider graphics to be very important, but I do consider originality to be. Games that use lots of ripped graphics leave a bad taste in my mouth, and they can be rather jarring if I recognize them, breaking immersion. However, DT gets a bit of a free pass since the main plot point is that the world is a conglomeration of video game worlds. I'm also pretty sure that there are some original sprites in DT anyway.
Music I consider to be much more important, and using ripped tracks can be much more harmful than ripped graphics, since you sacrifice the ability to use musical motifs and tracks that specifically fit the scene they're supposed to be for. Composing music is really hard though, and you did choose some very good tracks (the Black Rock Fortress music in particular).
(Apparently I hit the character limit so I have to split this into two parts, sorry about that...)
The game gives you a lot of abilities, and it get take a little while to get used to them, but I managed to get used to them pretty quickly, at least... I also liked the heavy RPG elements and Metroid-style hidden powerups. I always enjoy collecting those, as well as Metroidvania elements such as new abilities granting you access to new areas. Bosses were well-designed, as well; I had fun fighting most of them and liked the variety in their attacks. My only gripe is what I mentioned earlier; the fact that bottomless pits and instant death spikes are everywhere, and the slightest mistake can cost you dearly. This isn't so bad in some rooms, but in particularly long or challenging ones it can be unnecessarily punishing. I have no problem with difficult games, but you always have to be careful not to cross over into Fake Difficulty. Having to redo the same section you've done dozens of times just to get to the part at the end of the level that's giving you trouble is neither fun nor challenging, merely frustrating and repetitive. (ESPECIALLY the Spire, which is the same thing times five, plus it's a timed mission, which just makes things worse)
...Sorry if that was a bit long-winded, I tend to be rather verbose sometimes. ^_^; This is all just my personal opinion and taste of course, I know mine is just one of many points of view. DT is still great despite its flaws, and I wish you luck in your future endeavors.
Spoilers - Intended for Anonymous who wrote the review above...
Good job on completing the game, I know it is no easy task, even on the easy setting it gets really bad toward the end. The Shroud Lord is the game's climax battle, or what I called the true final boss fight. The rest is for fun and story wrap up. Though the fight at the end is actually harder than the Shroud Lord if you're playing on Distorted. Anyway, thanks for your review and it wasn't long-winded, I appreciate the time and care that went into it. Don't worry about the extra bit at the end, it's just another banter between Jerry and Jeremy. Though you do sorta get to see what Jeremy decides to take form in. If you unlock it, you'll understand the 'sorta'.
I don't have too much to say in response to the writing, I don't consider myself awesome at it. For the fake Syrus, I mostly hint at that with the NPCs in Abstracity after completing Black Rock.
And again, glad you enjoyed the game. :)
Hm, I see. Yeah, it's quite difficult, but most of it was real difficulty, and still managed to be fun in most cases. I just hated levels and bosses that you can get stuck on for hours. :( I'll look forward to your new project, even though I don't have much experience with Shoot-Em-Ups. XD
Could you explain the pre-Distortion Reckoning cutscene, though? That was really shocking and I kept expecting Jeremy to explain what he meant by them being "fakes" when he reconnected, but nothing. :( And what happened to the real Syrus? Is he still trapped in Black Rock Fortress at the end of the game? o_O
You actually got it earlier. At that point, Jeremy had figured out that the Syrus they rescued was a fake, Hex had just blocked out their communication before he could say it. As for the real Syrus, he wasn't in Black Rock when Jerry was there, he was swapped out beforehand and taken to a place that is only referenced near the end. The Darkness hints at a place it brought everyone during the first Phase Distortion. (Which is just the lamp-shaded term I used for The Darkness pulling people into the program.) As far where or what that place is, it isn't blatantly said what it is. Just that it is a place to securely hold everyone.
Fun Fact: I have not beaten the Shroud Lord (and one other boss that I will not say) on Distorted yet.
Yay, I beat the Spire, finally! Boss at the end was rather easy.
I also got a C rank! Didn't get whatever the reference was supposed to be, but eh. Is that thing about getting a special reward if you get A ranks across the board on Distorted true, or are you just messing with people? o_O
(Still couldn't get the skill capsules in Sky Base, grumble grumble, but I did get literally everything else :D)
Oh, this is really random but I would like to know your opinion on it: http://farla.livejournal.com/245660.html. It's a long blog post about female characters by an opinionated fanfic author and reviewer. I think it's an interesting read and can help somewhat if you want to write female characters but are worried about messing them up. You don't have to read it if you don't want to, though.
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