Stuff Under the Header


Long Awaited

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

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

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


Water Bottles

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

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

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

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

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


A Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Castlevania tiles.

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

I think this post wins on smiley count.


Alundra was a Cool Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To The Past

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

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

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

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

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