Stuff Under the Header


More Things Changed

I don't know if I confirmed it here or not, but DT2 is getting a rather large content update, which I hope to release by mid September. The update includes a new world with 3 levels altogether. (It became the new World 2 set.) They're not very difficult if you're simply playing through them to get by. Many of the other levels have been touched up some. The final level had even more adjustments. (Actually found a few bugs too.) A few new cutscenes were added in and the existing ones had some minor dialogue changes.

The sand bombs on 3-2A (used to be 2-2A) are being changed.

The cooldown time on Blast Off has been reduced by half a second. Due to the new way energy is handled, that gives it an almost infinite use. Dash energy had a bug with the previous versions. Each hit on an enemy was supposed to give back half a dash point. This has been fixed. The idea behind that was to assist in getting better times.

I'm not really happy with the finale to the game, so the sequence after the Core fight has been expanded on.

If you haven't played DT2 and were planning on it, I recommend holding out till this update comes in. Previous saves will not be compatible, though the game isn't that long. That does wipe scores unfortunately. You're welcome to change the name of the old save file to the new one to see the goofy effects it has on the scoreboard.

Other Stuff
My steam id, for those that have asked, is this.
Though I'm not on too often and I may not play many games. Mostly Borderlands, and definately Borderlands 2 when that is released. I will chat at times though.


Nothing Insignificant

Many more of the birds have figured me out now. One in particular from last week will now fly a good 1/3 of the way across my work area (which is a large area) to reach me. There was one day she followed me around for about 20 minutes, jumping from tree to tree to watch me. When I would stop for a significant amount of time, she would approach me as long as no one else was close by. She also has a younger bird she's taking care of that follows her around, but she won't approach me. She won't run when I come close, but she has little interest in me or the food I throw out unless the mother feeds her directly. (Even though I've seen the younger bird feed herself.) This week though, her young was on her own. Stayed fairly close to the mother, but was no longer mooching off of her. Which, btw, her kid is like 2x her size. I'll get a picture of the two if I remember to bring my camera and if they're both around. Those two aren't around every day.

Stuff About Things


Jerry's new early bomb detonation looks to be staying. After making a few adjustments, it fits in well and makes the bomb much more usable and versatile in combat. The shot above still takes some skill to do and would be impossible with the original method in the demo. Of course, it's very satisfying to pull off as well. The bomb is one of the abilities which had its stun time significantly boosted, and the bomb event boosts its stun time by 1 for every level. (1 of 2 abilities which do so.) The boomerang was originally going to be in the game for Jerry's use, the purpose of course being specifically for stunning. One of Claire's later abilities replaced the boomerang, so it was removed. (Though that ability also has far more uses than just stunning enemies with a base stun of 50.)

This bomb change will also cause the bomb's original detonation time to come back. The bomb originally took 90 frames (3 seconds) to detonate on its own, and was later taken down to 85 frames, as 90 was too long. 5 frames may not seem like a lot, but 1/6 of a second can mean a lot in how DT works. The Flame Instigator is a good example of that. The difference between his down time between attacks on Easy as opposed to Hard is 1/10 of a second. Anyone whose attempted him on both settings knows how much faster the encounter feels on Hard and above. Specifically as the fight moves on, which on harder settings, will adjust him at faster rates. The difference from Easy to Hard by the end of the fight is 1/3 of a second between actions. This doesn't include when he's entering a state where he must react to the player, such as his dive and charge combo, those are fixed times.

With the completion of Gate 4, came the end boss of that area. I wasn't necessarily trying to make it the hardest fight in the game up to that point. (Based on other end gate encounters.) I did compare it to Death's difficulty to the testers, though said it required a different skill set to complete. The general consensus, which came as a surprise, was that he wasn't all that hard, and definitely didn't come close to how rough Death was. The only thing they share is the player must keep up a continual rhythm.

DT Gaining Fans
I haven't done a lot of advertising for DT throughout its life. It was only when DT1 was starting that I posted about it on a gaming forum. The rest is all from fans spreading the fun they've had with it, which to me, is pretty awesome. Slaix found it very early on and shared it with a small group of friends. He was providing a lot of feedback, more than anyone else, and followed the project really close, which led to me sending him updates before anyone else got to see the game. (Other than my roommates.) Slaix has been really good about telling me when something is too hard or too confusing. The Data Segment would have been a lot rougher if it wasn't for his feedback. Lots of early places in DT3 were toned down and made better due to him.

I've found that everything has the potential to be significant. For example, the lead up to raocow finding out about the game, which grew the game's following quite a bit. I'm not sure how Hadriex found DT, but he was the start of a chain I saw. Way back in September last year, he made a review of DT1 and a trailer of both DT1 and DT2, then posted them on Fusion Fan Gaming. From there, Slit08 found the game and recommended it to raocow, then we were off. Slit08 expressed a lot of interest in the project, so he went on to be a tester for DT3. He's definitely got a lot of excitement for it and provides a lot of suggestions. He's really good at finding graphical errors and telling me when something looks bad. While I wanted DT3 to look much better than the others and put more effort into that aspect, Slit08 is a big reason many areas are better than they would have been.

Every time I ask someone if they think achievements would be okay in DT3, the answer has always been "NO!", well usually.

Luckily this isn't happening.


Crafty Creations

Edit: (August 22,2012) Today is the day of my birth! Well not today, but this day some x number of years ago!

Edit: (August 19,2012) This hasn't happened in awhile. I will be out of town from August 22-25.

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned that my brother's wife had a thing and it would be mentioned later? Today is that day!

Heather crafts fun and nifty original plush toys, cross-stitch patterns of recognizable faces, as well as original acrylic paintings. Upon viewing her work, I'm sure you'll quickly notice she's got quite the creative side and likes to stay busy. She does all the work you'll see on her page by hand. I really can't do her work justice by simply talking about it, so I'll let her work speak for itself.

Her blog for her creations is here. geekygamergirl
Which has links to everything else she has that is connected to this, including her etsy page and facebook page for her work.
Though I'll list those here as well.
Heather's Etsy Page
Facebook Page

The reason she wanted me to wait is she just launched her kickstarter, with the goal of helping her produce her work at a better rate as well as gather up more materials quicker. If you'd like, help her out, and if not, I definitely recommend at least checking out her etsy page, which showcases her fun plush toys. They're all at a reasonable price, and if you see something you like, claim it for yourself! Those cute monsters are limited. :3

The main point of this isn't to sell you guys anything, but to help spread the word about her creations. If you've got friends who like these kinds of things, let them know about it.

On a side note, I know some of you will be crafty enough to find me on facebook through her page. Please do not send me a friend request as I will not accept it. I don't mean anything negative by it, but my facebook is used for keeping tabs on friends, and primarily keeping up with the Austin IGDA and Indies groups. While the later is game related, I prefer to keep DT seperate (for the most part) from anything having to do with 'professional' work as well as my personal life. Its gone beyond being an experiment at this point, but I would still like to keep my hobby work seperate from everything else.

DT2 Feedback
You guys brought up some interesting points below. To address a few, bogs are totally deserts... right? One is dry and the other is... so moving on to the next subject. (Maybe I'll do some pixel work to change that as well as the bog line.)

ano0maly said it felt like 'VR Missions' which was really the idea. Just a collection of small challenges with a boss fight here and there, with some dialogue to build up to the 3rd game. Which I definitely understand why that's a concern after the first game. I really have no idea how to justify that other than they're different games.

Shade brought up saving the player's time and score (or at least time) when you reach a checkpoint, so that if you lose, you don't have to retry the entire level. That's the idea of those challenges, however, I like the idea of changing it in favor of his suggestion and I don't like it at the same time. Even with using his suggestion, the player would still have to pull off the feat itself. The latter half of the game would definitely lose a lot of its frustration value when trying to achieve these goals, which I'm in favor of. If this change is made, there will be some rules. If the player loses and chooses 'Retry' when on the second map, the Perfect bonus is completely negated. Killing Sprees would be changed to carry over to a level's second map, (I'm not sure if anyone noticed it reset on map entry.) so of course, upon losing, this would be reset. This makes the target times and scores easier to reach, but when trying to play for the highest score, it would still require the player to perfect the entire level.

Some connections to the game's content would also be made, and I know where and how it could be effective. (Plus some dialogue fixes.) As for adding in more levels. If that happened, it would be a world placed in between worlds 1 and 2, so difficulty would be set in there. As for a boss encounter, I have a fun idea for that. This world would have 2 levels and a boss. So worlds would have 3 -> 2 -> 3 -> 2 level counts.

Adding levels in the middle of the game would cause the scoring arrays to be all out of whack. If such a change happened, previous saves would not be compatible. In fact, to keep people from loading up completely broken save files, I'd have DT2 create and search for a new file. For now though, DT3 is still the focus.


Two in One

No bird stuff to report today other than they're all doing great and it seems a few more younger birds have caught on to me.

Both DT1 and DT2 got an update today. DT1 is very very minor and figured I'd give it an update since it had some stuff fixed that was bad. Soothing Spring, which has been asked a few times to be made better, has been made better. It does the same thing as before, it just lasts a lot longer. Since DT2 got a few visual effects on its spells, I figured I'd pass those on to DT1 as well. Oh yeah, a few of those 1 tile wide platforms in 'Think & Act Fast' have been extended to 2. The return teleport door after the fall has been removed as there's no reason to come back. Some of you may have caught on to a challenge by a player asking me to play that map without taking damage. When I can get to a computer that can screen-capture, I will be using the original version. Still not sure if I'm going to voice that or not.

For DT2, the visual effect above is there. As I said before, most of the changes were done to the final level. Every boss in the game had its power reduced by 1. It is, in every way, to make them easier. The difficulty comes in from trying to get the optional time requirements... which are now slightly easier due to a change with spell costs in DT2. If you haven't used more than 4 bars of spell energy, then that element will only cost 2 instead of 3. For most of the game, it has you using all of your elements, so this is to help motivate that.

Claire can now dash off walls just like you can in DT3's Gate 4. Which means you can do the ever broken parallel wall dashing, though that eats dash energy fast...

The pew pew level also got changed. The full charge doesn't take as long to reach, but its been slightly powered down. The biggest change comes from the helper bots that follow you. Play the level and you'll see what I mean. :3 To balance the change, the bosses have had their HP counts slightly boosted. The rule of losing one helper when you die and continue is still in effect.

ano0maly and a mysterious email guy has wondered about DT2 getting more levels made for it. That is a fun thought. More could definitely be done with it. I'd like to ask what people would want from it. An extra world of 4 levels put between 1 and 3? Or something else. One thought I had, which would be immensely easier to add for the scoreboard, is small 'challenge' levels along with each world. Much like the Spire in DT1, but not done in sets of 5. No more that. They wouldn't be on the main scoreboard, but would track your best time.

Submit your ideas! It may be possible that I'll go back and add in a little more content to DT2. As I've said in the past though, I'd like to focus my efforts on DT3, so I can't promise anything. DT2 has much smaller levels, so it could be a thing I add in little bits at a time. ano0maly has said DT2 feels incomplete, anyone sharing that thought, what do you feel would fix that?
Also online leaderboards was an idea back in the day for it. Which reminds me, I thought about letting players opt in at the beginning of the DT3 demo if they wanted the game to send their game data to me periodically for data mining purposes. Seeing things like the average AP level at specific times, deaths per room, when people stopped playing, etc.

Oh yeah, it has an 'exe only' download now.

Development is continuing again after my play-test through all the content. Lots of stuff changed. Seeing some of these old levels again for the first time in a long time gives a new perspective on them. A nifty change to the Link set is the player can now press the bomb button while a bomb is active to reduce the detonation time down to when it begins flashing, or just before anyway. (1.16 seconds before it explodes.) Which made its use in combat much better. I found even myself neglecting it aside from very few scenarios. Of course certain things changed slightly to accommodate that. This change may not stay in, it's in a trial period right now, but so far I like it much better.


Rare Sightings

Two days ago, I saw a young grackle following a matured male around, who didn't seem to mind the younger bird doing so. I kept watch for a bit, since this is unusual behavior. The young are always taken care of by the females, though I wondered if the male was taking up that role anyway. There are rare occasions that male grackles will care for the young, but I had never witnessed it. So I continued watching to see what was going on, this went on for about 3 minutes that I watched the two birds. Everywhere the male went, the young bird would follow. Then, the male stopped and picked something up, which of course was food that it had found. The younger bird reacted the same way it would if its mother was about to feed it. She opened her mouth and fluttered her wings, chirping for food. Even then, I wondered if she might have just left her mother's wing and was attempting beg for food from another bird.

This wasn't the case, the male wasted no time in bringing the food over to the younger bird and putting it into her mouth. He waited till she was done shallowing, making sure she didn't drop any of it before moving on, which she continued to follow. To explain the previous statement, often times the young will drop their food and for whatever reason, will not pick it up for themselves. (Well that depends on age.) The mother will always wait and pick it back up for them, repeating this process however many times it takes. I've seen up to 2 times a younger bird has dropped their food. On both times I saw that, the third time the food is dropped,  the mother will take a higher angle to be sure the food goes down.

It was definitely nifty seeing this male grackle taking on the role of caretaker. I saw them again about 30 minutes later. Heard some chirping and when I looked over, he was feeding her again.

DT3 Stuff
All of the Chapter 8 content is finished as of yesterday. Overall, it's easily my favorite of the Gate chapters, and I really like how it turned out. All of the changes I set out to make are also in the game. I'll be doing a full playthrough of the playable content and going through the bug list that grew as Chapter 8 went on. There are only 4 bugs left on the list which started with 23. Of course during my playthrough so far, I've found a few minor errors as well.

Of the changes, the stun time change mentioned in an earlier post has been fully implemented and is working nicely. The Gate 2 overworld now has a menu save feature, and saving has been disabled from the encounters. So far the stun change hasn't upset the balance, just made things a bit easier to stun lock, which is fine, as that's the idea. (Though most enemies don't last but 2-3 hits in DT3 anyway.) A few minor level edits have been made. A Podobo was actually removed from Gate A. There were a million in that place anyway, one had to go.


Villainous Auditions

It will be a later post that goes into a thing that my brother's wife does. When I told her I'd give her section of the internet a shout-out here, she asked if I could wait about a week. Seems she's getting something set up and wants attention directed to that... So onto stuff.

I've made another feathered friend at work. This one is a younger male who has seen me give out food. Last week, he was standing next to a tree as I was walking by. I noticed him there, so I stopped to toss him something. As I brought out the small bag that I keep the food in, to my surprise, he started approaching. I had seen this particular bird once before, he has a nifty white stripe straight down his chest, which is one of the ways I've been using to identify him. The other way is easier though, like most of the birds at work that I recognize from a day to day basis, he has a unique personality that I'm able to see.

One thing he does differently is grabbing food midair that I toss to him, most others will shy away momentarily. He'll come very close, and each day, he seems to test just how close he can come to me. At first, I was a bit worried that he might be doing this with everyone, but it turns out he flies away when other people get close, usually retreating to a tree. He hasn't taken food directly from my hand, but he comes closer every day. Today, he followed me around a bit. While he won't let me come TOO close, he's never flown away like most birds.

Back when making DT2 and writing up DT3's story, I knew right away what/who the villain would be. The short roadblock I ran into was what sort of role I wanted him to play. Such as whether he needed to be active with a constant presence or staying within the shadows and manipulating from there till the final showdown, like how Ganondorf is in the Zelda series. When thinking about what his motives were and the methods he'd use to achieve his goals, it was becoming increasingly clear to me that he'd need an active role. However, he takes a passive role for quite a large portion of the game, about 2/5 of it actually, so I suppose he changes throughout, at least in how I use him in the game.

DT2 Update
I've been sitting on a rather large update for DT2 since its last patch. It's almost 2.0 type worthy I'd say. I don't want to release it yet though, there's a few things I need to make sure I didn't break, which won't take long. However I'm very close to finishing up a large milestone for DT3, so once that's done, I'll go and check DT2 for errors once more. The update fixes a lot of issues that people have had, which overall, has made the game a bit easier to beat. Which I prefer for DT2. Most of the difficulty, I wanted to come from trying to 100% it. The final level did change a little, but it still has 99% of its original difficulty intact. Sector 5, Room 2 got most of the change. (Not that last part, I love that last part.) :P Damage has been reduced for most enemies as well.

The milestone is finishing up all the content for Chapter 8, which somehow ended up having almost as much gameplay time as Gate 3. To me, it has the best levels in the game so far, the first Fortress stage easily being the best of them.


Problem Solving, Act II

Now on to the second part and the point I was originally heading toward. Wait no, not point... but subject.

Last time I mentioned that I'm an introvert, the very definition in some instances. These days, I found I don't socialize outside of family and my roommates very often, though I won't go into the reasons of why... Aside from there being lots and lots of stupid people and stupid annoys me. Willful ignorance and stupidity annoys me rather. I believe I said it before, but my tolerance has also dwindled lately, and that doesn't help me much. BUT... people are also pretty awesome and have interesting stories and things to share.

Sometimes, maybe once every two weeks, I'll eat out during a lunch break at a restaurant. I've found an activity during these times that I actually enjoy. Now that I think about it, this is a completely separate thing from the previous post, but hey, here we go. All the restaurants here, or at least the ones I go to during these times, have fairly small dining areas. It's all fast food, gotta go with that since the lunch break isn't that long. (Actually they give an hour, but I only take roughly half an hour.) Most of the time (all except once) there's someone sitting alone. Instead of taking an empty seat, I'll approach the lone diner and ask if I can sit at his/her table. I have yet to have anyone turn me down, and I always try to ask in such a way that doing so won't leave an awkward feeling.

I suppose one reason for this is having some way of socializing during this time when my social life is at a minimum, but really, I simply enjoy this. What I do is start a conversation with the person I sit with. In most cases though, they actually initiate it first. I imagine it must also be odd that I wouldn't choose an empty seat. The purpose is really what it appears to be, simply talking with someone. It never gets personal, only being a simple exchange of stories based on whatever topic comes up and I've found that people have lots of interesting things to say.

There are times when I see more than one person sitting alone. In this scenario, my targets are usually middle-aged to older people. The reason is probably self-evident, being that they have more life experience and more interesting experiences to draw from for this short encounter. There's no high goal for doing this. It's only to see what people have to say on any number of topics. The conversations typically never go past 20 minutes. I'm on lunch and since it's a lone person at a fast food place during normal lunch hours, odds are, they have somewhere to be as well, which works great in both of our favors. Since it's a new person every time, there's virtually a 0% chance of not having something to talk about.

Next time, we get to DT stuff with the possibility of a side thing that my brother's wife does.


Problem Solving, Act I

Here's a post that isn't about DT. It's lengthy, so I broke it up into two ideas. The second part will come in the next blog post. So on to it...

In real irl I am quite the introvert. I've always enjoyed keeping to myself and being left to my own devices. Tinkering and experimenting, only stopping when the outside world interferes in its many ways, sometimes infuriating ways. I'm sure those of you with a similar nature can relate. On a side tangent, when growing up, I had a very not so mild case of ADHD. Not that crap people make up these days, the real thing, to the point where doctors wanted to diagnose me with low grade autism and stick me in some special class... to which my mom said "Fuck that!" She was having none of that. The end result was my mom got her way... as she usually did. This of course doesn't stop the disorder itself. I was practically hanging to the ceiling in school. I wasn't always disruptive, but it was hard for me to stay in one place and listen to a lesson on something that my mother had already taught me or encouraged me to discover on my own through reference. However, being disruptive went against how I was brought up, so an alternative had to be made.

Like many people in that same scenario, I went into my own world in my head. Of course this sort of behavior has a lot of negative side effects, so it needed to be stopped. My mom did what I feel is far more effective than any drug on the market. She worked with me. It wasn't easy and it took awhile, but instead of sticking me on some legal form of narcotic that pharmaceutical companies drive down the throats of kids everywhere, she personally worked me through these issues. There was only one short time that she had me take Ritalin, and that was when a huge change occurred. We had moved and I didn't handle change very well back then, as I'm sure many kids don't. She didn't have me on it for very long, if I remember right, it was roughly 4 months, and I didn't take it much anyway. I hated taking it because I had to swallow the pills, and I hated having to swallow anything like that. They had a disgusting taste, so chewing wasn't desired. The next best thing was to pretend to take them and hide them later. My mom caught onto that pretty quick, so eventually I had to develop other methods of avoiding that pill. I remember a few months after she had taken me off of that drug, she had been doing some housecleaning, and found the motherlode of pills under the microwave.

Off of the side tangent, and into another, I've got a nice case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I've never been diagnosed with it, but some years back, I had started to notice that I shared quite a few qualities of this disorder. I did the thing I usually do when I begin to take some interest in something... I researched it. I did quite a bit of research and found that I really didn't need to overpay someone to tell me I had this. OCD gets in the way of everyday activities. I've heard people say they 'enjoy' it, and while I do find there are some semi 'humorous' aspects to it, it's a hindrance. Since I realized that it's a mental disorder, I felt the best way to combat it was to learn more about it.

To break down OCD in a simply way, it's an irrational fear that something negative will happen if specific actions are not performed in specific ways. For example, when I travel on sidewalks, I always step over the cracks leading with my right leg. If I didn't do this, something bad could happen later. I might get hit by a car, or a lamp post will fall on me, the neighborhood could catch fire. SOMETHING will go wrong all because I did not step over this sidewalk crack properly. This is a real thought I have had before, which of course is completely bazonkers, it's all irrational. Even when I first started identifying these behaviors being linked to very silly things, it was hard to break myself out of still performing the 'required' actions. I'd tell myself that it's silly, but a voice in the back of my head would tell me that these rational thoughts breaking through are actually the irrational ones and that if I don't continue doing things the way I have been, very bad things will happen.

Do you see the problem here? There were many things I did differently out of some irrational fear of otherworldly retaliation. It was indeed a hindrance to every part of my life, especially my social life. Knowledge is power and perseverance is a great ally. I started to remember back when I mom worked with me on my ADHD problems and some of the steps we went through to work through that without legally prescribed narcotics as well as my own way of handling things. Testing boundaries and mechanics is always something I've loved doing. I began to look at these irrational fears in a different way. I was curious in experimenting whether something bad would happen if I had suddenly stopped performing these 'required' actions. I couldn't just stop, so I had to approach it differently. If I was simply experimenting with these seemingly uncontrollable forces, there was the possibility at a lighter negative consequence. It wasn't the real thing, it was now a laboratory of sorts; a controlled environment, just in my head. This went on for a few weeks, testing the boundaries of these irrational fears I had. At first, I was worried, but... Turns out, nothing out of the ordinary went wrong. All the normal negative stimuli that were part of every day life were still there. I would periodically perform the actions that my fears would drive me to do, then stop, and test this process.

During this time, I continued to search for other cases of OCD to see other people's symptoms and how someone with an extreme case would handle it. More importantly, for me anyway, I wanted to know what the fears themselves were and the actions people took to prevent them from occurring. After some time, I was finally able to tell myself to stop performing actions based on the irrational fears, not out of experimentation, but because I had proven to myself that these fears were indeed irrational.

For anyone without this or any other similar disorder, this all sounds incredibly ridiculous, and you're right. But to someone with these issues, these fears are very real to them, and that's a major problem. There's a difference between thinking 'Something bad may happen if I do this' and 'Something bad WILL happen if I do this'. I think myself to be a fairly intelligent and analytical person and it got to even me. I'm not saying I'm this great awesome being, I'm simply saying this type of thing can affect anyone. Due to the nature of the disorder, the treatment needs to be tailored to how that person thinks. In my case, I was lucky enough to be able to self-treat it. Even today, I still have these irrational fears tied to actions, but it is quite easy to simply brush them off.

On a side note, OCD isn't the same for everyone and there's varying degrees of it. The above is not an absolute.