Stuff Under the Header



Menu Font Update

Edit: (12/14/2014) In that screenshot, there's an entry for 'AP Gained From Boosters' that is now useless. Like, more useless than the useless stats. So what other useless stat could replace it.

Give me your suggestions for useless stats/things to track!

Because past me thought it was fine to use a serif font.

That was fixed recently and the pause menu is now readable.

AP Gained From Boosters needs to be depreciated.
And I guess... that's it? Yeah that's about all I'd like to mention this time. I'm nearly done with another big part of the game, so yay!

Ah yes, Recognitions are DT3's Achievements, but I'm not revealing those and their silliness. I'll probably be fairly quiet on posting for the remainder of the year sooo... see you all next year and have a great holiday thingie-ma-bob!


I Didn't Want To Do This

As an online identity, as ZephyrBurst, a guy who (for now) makes hobbyist games, I had chosen to stay silent for current issues in gaming culture. I've never supported GG, and never will, but I also didn't want to be part of any of that. All I want to do is make and play video games. I just like things to be simple. I have been watching it all unfold since this stuff blew up in August, but I've remained an on-looker.

However, I can't be silent anymore and really, a silent supporter is useless. Things have become a bit more personal now. A friend of mine has been a target of the misogynistic bullshit that is happening and its been an eye opener in all this. I will be speaking out against inequality and unfairness from this point on.

I would like to note that this will probably be the only post about this on the blog, but in the places I may frequent where these discussions occur, I'll be there. You may see my twitter get a bit heated from time to time as well. I've watched this stuff from the sidelines for way too long and its been angering.

Blog Update
We'll be returning to DT stuff after this, which by the way, I'm making some dedicated pages for the three games. The first draft buttons on the side will link to the start of those. I'll be expanding those and getting a better format sometime this month. (Maybe? or January :P DT dev tends to come first.)


More Control Options

Edit: (12/5/2014) Doing some tests with blog pages for a bit. You may see the side bar change here and there for the next few weeks.

I've had suggestions in the past about adding in dash buttons, so those are in DT3 now. The biggest reason I added them though, is I feel that dashing is the most important mechanic in the DT series. More options to access and set up the dash how the player wants it is a good thing then. (And the arguments to add it were also well presented.)

Up/Down + Jump can still be used of course, but with the dash buttons, the option to disable up/down from initiating the dash was added. The dash buttons also have 2 modes. You can set them as 'Dash Left' and 'Dash Right', or as 'Dash Back' and 'Dash Forward'. For controllers, they are default to the shoulder buttons.

During all my playtests since this functionality was added, I've kept to the old method of dashing when playing on a keyboard, but with a controller, the new method is far better. I'm sure any of you reading this that played DT1 or 2 with a controller will immediately understand why.

Smash Bros.
It's fun.

What's Left
One more major level left for Chapter 19, and 3 more boss encounters. (Scripting one now.) The sequence to get to the location that Chapter 20 takes place, where I mix two mechanics together.

Here's some MLP thing out of nowhere.
Also the blog has been linked on reddit apparently.


Another Anniversary

It's the 2 year anniversary for Planetside 2!
That is all.

Voted best Zephyr blog post.
-No one

In other news, by request: You can now change the game window size with your mouse, and the window will auto-correct itself to the 4:3 ratio.


Gotta Say It Again, I Don't Like Winter

It's too cold.

Hitboxes Again
I believe I've mentioned this before, but anyway, the hitboxes in DT are almost always smaller than the sprite.

For example:

In this overly large shot of my display, there are 2 sprites displayed. Those dark boxes over the sprites are the pixels used for collision. Most enemy sprites use the full sprite for collision, but their projectiles often have the first outer edge of the pixels cut off from colliding with anything. This is why you'll sometimes see a fireball fly through the top of Jerry's head or something pass through his arm while he's unharmed. The collision boxes have remained the same for most of the sprites that were carried over from DT1 and DT2.

When DT1 first started, there was none of this. Every sprite was its own collision, which led to a lot of problems.

For some enemy sprites that have a weapon as part of the sprite itself, I'll often cut off the weapon for collision checking, both due to it being awkward for the player when they take damage from it (I think so anyway) and that it's also part of the collision for the player to deal damage to the enemy. For those occasions, a separate object is used (as you would imagine) for the melee weapon the enemy has.

The above collision examples are only for collision with damage objects, these are not used for world collision. (though they can be) That's handled in a different, slightly more complex, way.

These are in DT3 as of a moment ago. There's been plenty of talk with people about these and if they should be in the game. I've shared my thoughts on them before, and I tend to not like them. So, nearly all of the achievements in DT3 are very silly things that are outside of normal gameplay. There won't be any "Completed Chapter 1" or "Defeated 100000 Enemies" achievements. Most of them are designed for comedy purposes.

A comment here inspired someone to say a thing to me, which inspired me to code in achievements. Luckily some of the UI and code was already done from when I was toying around with the idea.


Moving Forward

I had walked outside for my lunch break and when going around a corner, a grackle was also walking around the same corner. The two of us would have collided had we not been paying attention. I stopped when I saw her and she did the normal quick flight, but she only flew away about 3 feet before returning. The bird recognized me and I guess she got really excited because she kept flying in front of me. Grackles, like many birds, cannot hover very well. So she kept fluttering to the wall next to us and kicking off of it to remain in front of me. Finally after about 3 times of doing that, she landed right at the base of my feet.

I do wonder if I had extended my hand, if she would have landed on it. Another of the birds out there, that is far more friendly, has jumped up on my leg when I was sitting on a bench.

Chapter 19 Progress
It's a slow thing these days, with having a full time job and trying to maintain a social life, both online and offline. But it is always moving forward every day, little by little. One of the three major locations is completed. It took a bit longer than I wanted due to the second half of October being exceptionally busy for me.

It is kind of weird to be almost done though, both happy and sad about it... mostly happy. I like seeing things finished.

Release Date
I still don't know just yet, but I think late February or early March next year. That's just a guess, it could be sooner, it could be later. But that's my new goal. I'm not going to rush things, I'd rather the game come a bit later rather than suck.

Also, I haven't played Planetside in over a week. I'm putting the game down until I finish DT3.


The War Room

If you played DT1, which if you're reading this, chances are that you did. You may remember near the end of the game the map labelled as the war room. It had a really positive reception from everyone and I really wanted to do it again.

I just got done with its DT3 iteration and I'm pretty pleased with it. That said, it does have a slightly different focus. In DT1, it was mostly about the player being overpowered. In DT3, I wanted to have the same idea of fighting hoards of enemies the player had fought before. But the focus isn't on the player being overpowered. They do get benefits exclusive to that segment though, that's still there, but not as great as before.

The end result is pretty chaotic, especially the final bits of it, and it looks fantastic in motion. I've been testing the end result for about an hour now, making small tweaks here and there and I'm pretty happy with it.

The other thing that I didn't limit myself on in DT1 was the player getting hit. Everything in DT1 was made so that the player could get through 'mostly' unharmed, with the exception of the war room and the 2 boss fights that follow. One of the big rules with DT3 that I have is that it MUST be able to be played flawlessly and be reasonable. Every segment of the game, with the exception of a few short moments. For purists, those few forced hits are not recorded.

Valdis Story
I saw that raocow is playing this and I think it looks great. I've had it recommended to me by two people now. I watched the first 4 parts of raocow's LP of it and I'm going to discontinue that, as I'm going to play the game after I finish DT3. I may even try doing a LP of it as well. It'll be a first for that.

LP of Distorted Travesty
It seems weird to me, but I've had it requested that I LP my own game. Normally I wouldn't do something like that, but considering the volume of requests and how old DT1 is now, I may do it. Again, it would be after DT3 is finished. I may ask around on that one though, maybe on the talkhaus, especially since quite a few DT players are there. I know I don't post there very much, but I do lurk... often. @_@


Sensitive Content

Since I no longer work outside (and haven't for a few months), I don't have as many bird stories to tell. Though I do go outside during every lunch break, every work day. It doesn't take long for the birds to notice me and approach, in some cases, the moment I walk outside. However, a lot of the birds that know me aren't around right now either. Due to the seasons changing, a lot of them are moving around. There's far more birds here during the later seasons, but they're only here temporarily so nearly all of them have never seen me before. It's still nice to have my few birds left though that stay here year round.

Chapter 19 Stuff
I've quickly come to find that this chapter's content has been some of the hardest to work on in any project I've had. I mentioned two posts ago what this chapter is about (essentially me), so it's more expressive than any other segment of the game. A lot of plot related events also mean something to me and express how I feel about certain topics. Maybe no one will understand it or be able to derive any meaning from it all, and honestly, I'm okay with that.

Some of the content is hard to work on though, for various reasons. In a plot related sense, the more I think about how the events of chapter 19 unfold, the more I don't want those events to happen. They will though, because it's what I think should happen and it closely ties into how I feel about what those segments of the chapter mean.

Moreso than that, there's a specific level that is rather hard for me to work on. It isn't something I can work on or even think about in too much detail before going to sleep. I don't want to give away what I'm doing and why though. It's just a weird thing to work on and that it even has that effect on me at all. It does make sense to me why though, considering what it is. Once the game has been out for a bit, I'll definitely come back to this topic and talk about why this is, as it isn't going to be covered in any dev notes on enemy scans.

One slight spoiler, that isn't too much a spoiler because anyone that's played DT1 will most likely see it returning. A Primary Memory like level occurs during chapter 19 as well. There's a lot that happens during this chapter, but comparatively, chapter 20 is much shorter, especially considering it's just the final level. And that has a very different focus than chapter 19, in every way, story and gameplay mechanics. Especially gameplay, there's a fairly large change that is present for almost the entire level.

For any of you that have been part of creative works, have you ever felt very attached to what you're working on? Or that the content is so personal that it's hard to work on it?


Where Did September Go

It went by way too fast. I feel like I didn't accomplish much for DT3 this month. Oh well, progress was still made at least.

Zelda Warriors Dynasty Battle Rifle
Dynasty Warriors: Zelda Edition is fun. It is exactly like Dynasty Warriors except a bit better because you can actually tell friend from foe at a glance because everyone and everything are so diverse and of course, iconic. That and the field isn't just an ocean of silver armored dudes. Endless waves of the same armored dude, both their side and your side. The gameplay is also more fluid than any other Dynasty Warriors game I've played, though I haven't played any in the last two years, so I don't know if that was already addressed before Hyrule Warriors.

Mother 4
So this game is coming out pretty soon. It's an unofficial continuation of the Mother series, if you're already a fan of those games, you've probably already heard of this project. They've worked on it for quite some time and one I'll be playing when it's released. My goal is to have DT3 done after this game is done. I think I can do that. (There is no typo there.)


Into the Future

For the past year, of all the upcoming content left to make, Chapter 19 is what I've been most looking forward to. Every chapter in the game has some sort of theme to it and I try to stick to that with all of its content. Some of it is subtle, and not so much. With Chapter 19, it's pretty easy to say what it is and without giving any spoilers. There's no way to say it plainly without it sounding egotistical I think, but it is what it is.

The chapter is essentially about me. More specific, it's about my thoughts and fears. About my thoughts on video games and where I think they're going. I don't expect to be able to pull it off 100%, but I think I can get at least some of those inner thoughts into the game properly, and this time without them being tainted by sarcasm and satire like I usually do.

I don't think I need to say anything more about it. I hope to be able to pull it off well, and I think I can.


The Next Part; in a totally serious manner

Now that Chapter 19 content has my focus, the game's completion doesn't feel so far away anymore. So for this post, I'd like to talk about all the exciting news and happenings coming up for the game!

From now until October 15th, if you pre-order DT3, you will be rewarded with exclusive in-game content such as the incredibly powerful "Double Awesome" attack that Jerry can perform!

There's two of him, that's twice as amazing!

You will also be granted, for free, yes free, the "No Bird Mode" that millions of you have requested. I know many of you don't find birds an attractive part of your everyday gaming experience, and I wouldn't want to impede on that. In fact, I'll be including DLC for removing all forms of self-expression.

As you can see, the world is bird-free.

Pre-orders made after October 15th, but before the game's extremely anticipated released date will still be given the much sought after "No Bird Mode"! For anyone that prefers not to preorder, the above features can still be obtained through DT3's all new "I want your money" mode, where you can download exciting options for the game, all fairly priced!

Just a look at some of the amazing DLC to come is the "No Death Mode" where the player is immune to losing! Because who needs skill when you have money!? For five real dollars, this mode will remove all the frustrations and sadness from the game, while still retaining all its fun!

While I know I shouldn't announce it this soon, but DT3 pre-orders will be 67% off during Black Friday, and 33% off during the following weekend!

And there are even some very awesome exclusives coming up for both Intel and AMD users. For Xbo, err Intel chip users, you will have access to various hat cosmetics in various colors for Jerry! Those of you unfortunate enough to have AMD will be able to access various cosmetics for Claire! Just press the Spacebar during any moment in the game and a very welcoming window will pop up presenting you with the "I want your money" mode, where all these wonderful, and well priced I might add, cosmetics are available for purchase! These cosmetics will all be exclusive to their conso... err processing chip until April 1st, 2016!

Hat! That's more meta than you think.
I'll continue with my real posts now.


Almost Done With Another Big Segment

These were taken last week. The young male grackle is getting bigger and his dark feathers are coming through now. He's not very aggressive and is very shy, unlike the younger female grackle that's closest to me in the second image. She ate out of my hand yesterday. I'm a bit apprehensive about the younger grackles eating straight from my hand because they lack self control and get a bit too excited; which results in them biting my hand instead at times.

They may look unhealthy, but that's just how younger grackles appear.

Chapter 18
I have one more map to finish/fix up for Chapter 18 and everything will be done there. The end of it is a short segment that is pure platforming. No gimmicks and no tricks. It feels weird to go from what Chapter 18 was, to a basic level, but it all feels pretty good. It also sets up something that I feel is going to be pretty awesome in Chapter 20.

I was going to have the support bots show up in Chapter 18, but with all the things presented there, I felt it would be better to push their reveal back to Chapter 19. The new groups of enemies introduced have some nifty and complex dynamics that Chapter 18 didn't even fully cover. They're the group that the player is playing against most of the time in these final chapters. There's still a small number of them to be revealed after this as well. The support bots can make even the most simple scenario into something far more complex. I have a feeling that they'll probably need to be scaled back a bit, but I'll see how the testers feel about them. They've been ready for a super long time so finally coming to the point to use them is pretty nice. I mixed a single shielding bot with a group of two Rocketeers. (That thing you saw in the latest video.) That situation was scary. If you don't know or remember from previous posts. A shielding bot can pick an ally of its faction and shield them, causing that ally to be completely invulnerable. The bot has to be close to its target to shield them. It's not this specifically that makes them hard to deal with, it's how they prioritize targets. The healer bots moreso. Luckily the support bots have a rule that they cannot target other support bots. I tried them without that rule and... fuck that.

Useless Info About DT3
- There are more boss fights than DT1 and DT2 combined. I'd say for the most part, they are all better.
- There are more event flags in the pre-end game chapters (1-15) than DT1 and DT2 combined.
- The Gate G (Gate 6 Nightmare level) boss has the most HP of anything in the game, but can be defeated the quickest. (To my knowledge.)
- It should also be noted that the Gate G boss will result in so much fan rage, which delights me greatly.
- There are over 100,000 lines of code.


Another Progress Report

The blog reached over 100,000 views the other day. Some of that is from a handful of google bots. (I typically see about 10% of the 'traffic' from those.) It's how I find sites where people link to the blog and where people are talking about the game.

Chapter 18 has a small handful of maps left to make and script for. Spoilers to the testers, there's another boss encounter. Things aren't done yet. That said, it's pretty much done. When looking over what's made compared to the original plan, I wasn't surprised that what I actually made was pretty different than what was planned.

Without spoiling things: Originally it was going to be more story driven, with bits of dialogue mixed in and somewhat frequent short stops. This isn't what happened at all and lately I've been playing around with more interactive cutscenes. They're nothing that AAA titles do, but that isn't the focus here at all. Scripted cutscenes take a long time to do right and my engine is not built for it. I haven't given myself a lot of tools to develop them rapidly like I can for levels and AI. I find that interactive sequences (where the player has control, but they really can't change the outcome of the situation/story) are actually easier to do in my engine. Forcing the player object to move during cutscenes is tricky because when the game is paused, all the player physics are told to stop, and while that's actually an easy fix, I won't bother with it. There are very few times where I forcibly move the player object without player consent. I don't like doing it actually. The most I do with DT3 is move the player object a short distance left or right. Like the stuff that happened just before the Quick Time Distorter in DT1. I much more prefer to do something like what happens at the end of the Shroud Lord fight with the spike walls closing in. Of course the things I'm doing now are much different, I simply mean I like giving the player control of the character during something like that, even if they technically can't do anything to change the situation. (Note: There was some redundancy in that long paragraph.)

So what actually happened in Chapter 18 is a lot of almost no cutscenes at all. The dialogue is very condensed and occurs rarely. There's even sequence that the player can skip by entirely where two characters are chatting, but don't know the player is there. The player will probably stop, but I find it actually felt right to let them simply pass that conversation by if they wanted. It's simple I know, but DT3's end content is stepping in that direction a lot.

No screenshot this time, but hey, there's a spider drone that can reverse its gravity and stick to the ceiling. How fucking awesome is that?


Development Progress on DT3

There's that young male grackle from before. His darker feathers are coming out.

I'm getting to the end of Chapter 18 content, which means just two more and I can finally move onto the final stage of development. That is making the game more presentable and fixing all the things that I know will bother people. The game won't be perfect, and I know bugs will slip through. I'll be doing my best to minimize that of course. There's going to be a point where I'll just have to say, "I'm done and I need to move on." I don't know what that point will be, but it'll happen.

Sound is the biggest thing missing from the game. A lot of sounds simply aren't there, or sounds aren't final. There's a video posted below that showcases sounds not being final. Jerry fires off the Shotgun Ice that uses the X-Buster sound as a placeholder. Little things like that.

There's a lot of little effects that still need to be put in. During DT1 development, I was afraid of using too many particles because I kept thinking they would lag the game, so effects that requires a lot of little particles didn't happen often. The thing is, those kinds of things did lag DT1 when I tried them. There were two reasons, my particle system was incredibly inefficient. I was using code that took more cpu time when there were far better options. The other reason is DT1 started on Game Maker 6.1, whose interpreter and sprite drawing functions weren't even close to how fast they are now. Game Maker has improved a ton since then. Frame rate was a thing in DT1 both because GM 6.1 wasn't very fast, and my coding practices were far worse than they are now.

I've been slowing adding in bits of sound and visual effects here and there, but I really haven't devoted that much time to them, because the rest of the game has just been more important. When all the game's content is set, I can then see exactly what I need in terms of sound and improved visuals.

Here's a video, the video info on youtube has more info.


This Post is Secretly About Birds

This is somewhat a rant post, and sort of not a rant post; and it does contain spoilers for the animated movies, Rio and Rio 2. This is more specifically about Rio 2, why it sucks, and what I think should have been different. Also this post is long, because I can bitch about things for a very long time. (Skip to 'What Should Be Different'... or don't.)

This movie has birds in it, so... I had to see it. Okay, that's not the reason. I just like animated movies and had happened to see the first Rio sometime back when it was released. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was enjoyable for simply a kids movie with likable characters, wait, gotta stop here for a second. The characters, while there were some loud ones, namely Pedro and Nico, it wasn't over the top and they fit the setting and atmosphere pervading the movie. I didn't care much for the two named birds, but they (well Nico) at least worked well for it. The plot was standard, but nothing cringe-worthy that makes your sides hurt and want to jump off a building, plugging up your ears to shut the... we'll stop there. The animation is one of the better things about it. It's well done, very fluid and colorful. A lot is happening, but it's not an overload.

The plot for each film can be found at these two links, or just keep reading here as I give an overview and my own thoughts.
Rio 1 Wikipedia
Rio 2 Wikipedia

We then come to Rio 2, which I had heard nothing about and didn't even know it was in theatres until I saw it on the board when choosing another movie. (Maleficent I think?) It wasn't until after it was released on DVD that I saw it online. (No, I didn't steal or pirate it, my viewing was legal and paid for.) Before watching the movie, I wasn't expecting anything out of it, I was pretty sure it would suck hard. Then I saw the premise for the movie. In the first movie, the protagonist Blu, a blue macaw, is brought to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a female blue macaw named Jewel. Blu was raised by a human girl and comes to know human environments and what they do as the norm. Jewel is in captivity, but wants to get free. When Blu is brought to her, it's right in the middle of her escape plan. The two are accidently tied together during her escape, which of course brings Blu along with her. The two are very different people(birds), shenegans occur and we have the movie of their eventually coming to like one another. Something I want to note here about the first. Blu is never out of his element in the first movie. He knows humans and their habitats very well. While he is strung to Jewel for a very large portion of it, the two never leave the confines of human influence. This is important to note.

Into the second movie, the two macaws still think that they are the last two blue macaws in existance. They now have their three kids, who are actually introduced and set up well, about one of the only good things in Rio 2. The premise is the two hear about other blue macaws being found in the amazons, so Jewel decides she wants to bring the family there so her kids can see what it's like to be a macaw, as their current lifestyle isn't completely bird-like. This is where I thought the second film could actually be good, maybe better than the first. I brought my hopes up that it wouldn't simply be a standard animated sequence that is essentially the first movie cranked up to 11 without any of the charm. This is exactly what it turned out to be. Rio 2 is loud and at times obnoxious I feel. It never slows down, never stops to really take in anything. As soon as it looks like it's finally calming down a little to reveal some character, something loud and spontaneous must happen. The animation is still really good, it's like the first Rio, but with more saturation and color. Imagine 100,000 boxes of Fruit Loops all exploding open at the same time, that's Rio 2 in a nutshell. The choreography is great, the songs aren't too bad. Certainly better than Frozen's songs, actually this movie is better than Frozen. Frozen sucked, it sucked hard. Fuck that movie, it isn't good. It's damn awful. Horrible characters, horrible writing, god-awful annoying songs.

So we're back to Rio 2 now. I looked up reviews on Rio 2 after watching it, and it seems to average a 49%, which I find fair. Something that many reviewers said was that they wanted the characters to shut up and sing more. And I thought... NO, stop saying that, stop giving writers more fuel to write garbage. They needed less song and dance, and more dialogue. The dialogue was very rare, but when it actually happened, at least without all the noise in the background, it was enjoyable. So far, no one mentioned the thing that really made Rio 2 suck. Well sorta. They covered why the movie in itself was bad. It being loud and obnoxious, the characters not being very likable, the horrible plot. There were too many characters, no focus. Blu of course has trouble adapting to his new environment in the amazon, but that isn't at all important in the film's eyes. It introduced his three kids well and then forgets about them. We get almost no more development for any of them past that first scene.

What Should Be Different
Rio 2 was bad for those reasons above, but it isn't the core of what really made it suck. When I first saw the premise, I thought that it would thematically be a whole lot different. In Rio 2, Blu is now moving to the Amazon, at least temporarily in his mind. This is a complete departure from what he knows. He'll be out of human establishment and into the unknown for the first time. This movie should have been about change and dealing with everything that comes with that. Jewel would already be established as she didn't grow up in human captivity, and while the three kids have so far, they would be far more adaptable than Blu at this point. It's set up perfectly for the theme of change and we could experience it through Blu.

The beginning of Rio 2 could mostly stay intact as it is mostly like the first. This would be great as a contrast to the rest of the film and remind us of familiar safe ground. Especially the scene introducing the three kids as it lets us know just enough about them at this point. In the actual film, when the macaw family leaves for the amazon, a lot of other characters from the first movie come with them. Namely Pedro and Nico (and one other bird), who were incredibly loud and obnoxious in this film. They are horrible characters to have here. While they were a good contrast to Blu in the first, here they only get in the way. Instead, all those characters should have been left behind and never seen in the film again. Sometimes with big changes, we leave big things behind.

The two prominent human characters from the first were also present quite often in Rio 2, who added nothing to the film. They shouldn't be in the film at all aside from the beginning. In fact, as soon as Blu and Jewel arrive in the amazon, there should never be another human seen again. Which means we remove those human antagonists as well. The bird, Nigel, one of the villains from the first movie is also back. (Yeah, Rio 2 had too many villains as well.) He should also be completely written out. In fact, there shouldn't be any actual 'villains' in this movie as thematically, they are completely unnecessary. The antagonist in this should have been Blu's conflict in dealing with the big change in his life, both the inner and outer elements that come with it.

With all the characters that Rio 2 had, none of them could really get any development. By removing all those side characters that aren't important, we give a lot more room for the important plot element and those new characters to be brought out more. By removing those human antagonists and Nigel (and by extension the ant eater and the frog) we give more time for the other more important conflicts to play out and resolve properly instead of the very contrived way it did.

The characters we see right on the movie's box are Blu and Jewel's three kids, who would be arguably who we would want to know the most about as far as the new characters go. But past the first scene, we don't get anything. We see that they're all of varying intelligence levels and mischievious. There's Carla, who is a music lover. Tiago, their only son, who we really only get any development during the first scene. Then my favorite, Bia, who is an intelligent math-wizz. The problem is they were all pretty one dimensional, which stemed from there being too much and not enough to go around. Perhaps in my revised version, one of them also suffer from not immediately fitting into their new setting. A role perfect for either Carla or Bia, though I think it works best with how Carla was established. It would make sense as she's fairly comfortable with her lifestyle in human establishments that she would reject the move to the amazon, then further goes through those hardships that Blu would be working through as well. She's often seen wearing headphones. Perhaps that would be a way she helps comfort herself and 'escape' the amazon, though inevitably when the batteries run dry, this would no longer be an option.

In the actual movie, Blu has a knapsack with various supplies, like his gps. There's a scene near the end where he puts all this down and decides to leave it behind. The scene had no weight to it as that knapsack, while shown often, was never a source of comfort during the movie. It never held any signifcance other than, sudden random tool that Blu uses for 2 seconds before another character loudly interrupts.

In my version, like Carla's music, the knapsack is an escape or a delusional reminder that things will be okay. But unlike the batteries forcing that away from Carla, we'll take the original movie's route of Blu willingly leaving it. Blu goes through the understanding that things have changed and the knapsack isn't going to help him fit into his new culture and environment.

I'm not going to do an entire script, but simply giving the movie a thematic change, one that I feel it was ready to go already, would have made it much better. If your question is; “Why did you even write this up?” I don't know. Aside from my own full viewing, I've seen this movie a few times at work on about 40 or so TVs. I've had a lot of time to view the movie and think about the above. Take it as you will.

And since this is a DT Blog post, well here's a screenshot of something a little bit goofy.


DT3 Is Very Challenging At Times

Not to create; well yes, to create, that's a given. I've experimented more with this project than I have with the previous games. That and being very adamant about certain things going in instead of backing out if it's a technical or programming issue that I can't seem to get through. I've learned a lot by doing that. Research and asking other programmers questions has helped a lot as well. (Thanks to Slaix and WhattayaBrian the most in helping out there.)

Going back on the challenging bit, I meant to play. Specifically these end game chapters. I went back and reviewed some earlier segments, specifically the combat scenarios compared to the current ones I'm working on and the earlier content is cake now. That probably sounds scary or bad on its own, but everything feels really good right now.

If you played DT1, then you might remember the Heart Piece in Abstracity right outside of the plot room. That required the player to use Earth Shift and then follow it up with Zephyr to push the block off the platform and jump in time to reach the pickup. DT1 had other moments that required a few steps or mixtures of your abilities to reach something. Its puzzle solving and exploration were a bit more complex than DT3.

In how I see it, DT3 takes a simpler approach to that, including its combat. But I've found since all the abilities in DT3 are useful and easier to understand its functions, the combat is more complex. These end game enemies seem to reflect that.

The chapter 18 enemies have a nifty set up. Most of them assist one another in some way, whether it's something as simple as simply providing a buff if it's close by, (this really only has one occurance though) or relying on an ally's shield for protection. (Among other nifty things.) It makes the encounters with them feel more organic. Another thing is them closing up a weakness or easy exploit when the player finds it. Once it's figured out, it comes down to knowing when to exploit a weakness or hole in a defense. When the player is comfortable with these new enemies and understands better how to face against them, another element is added which shakes up everything about these encounters. In my own playtesting throughout the project, I found myself very rarely swapping characters. I tended to find my safe zone and played that way. With the most recent content, I've found myself swapping a lot more. Both characters have easy access to all damage types, just in slightly different ways. The scenarios in this chapter have shown me that going for making combat in DT3 simple to understand, but going for more complex scenarios has paid off. The combat in DT3 feels way better than DT1. It flows better and is far more satisfying.

Or... I'm just talking out of my ass and have no idea wtf is going on... ever.

In conclusion, I like where DT3 is right now.

Also this guy makes some good Phantasy Star remixes/arrangements.
Youtube or His Site


DT3 and some Birds

Wait... I already posted the screenshot displaying the arrival of more birds to the game. Here's a grackle then.

He still won't get too close, but he visits every day. It's a somewhat young male grackle. He couldn't fly when I first saw him a month ago because his wing was messed up. It still is today, but he's able to fly now. Not as well as other grackles, but he's figured it out despite the handicap. He'll probably be like that forever though. Looks like he got the wing injured while he was still developing... well he still is.

I may try to get a good picture of Alexander up-close, he's also a daily bird. Actually he's the first one I tend to see every day, and usually before I even get to the building to clock in for the day.
In case you haven't seen him, here's the video again.

Random Useless Numbers
These are all what is in the current project, this will change by the end. (Which is getting closer. Dear god when is this project going to end?)

There are:
-110 music files
-122 sound files
-228 different enemies (35 of them are boss encounters)
-510 collectibles (This includes chests and all that)
-65 useless stats tracked (This includes the highest number of bubbles seen on screen, that's important to someone, so it must be tracked!!!!)

The Forest Palace in Gate 2
I believe I said at one point that I really didn't like this level. You may remember it from the demo, probably not, it was forgettable. (The one with the fake floors and the dragon boss from Zelda 2.)

Well I've gone and done what I set out to do. The old one from the demo was trashed because that's what it deserves and a new one has taken its place.

You might remember this layout from the original. It's the only thing (along with the block puzzle) that I kept in this version of it. The rest is completely new and with a puzzle that spans over the entire level. I won't reveal the gimmick used here, you'll find out in a few months when the game is released.

More NZZ Madness, but in DT2
In which he displays mastery of DT2 mechanics.

And then reduces all difficulty to seemingly, zero.

And one thing in DT1. He recently put up a video boss guide for the bosses in DT1 for all difficulties. Here's the Shroud Lord.


Post #210

I missed the 200th post mark, anyway... This post was going to be a drama filled mess, but why do that when I can post a screenshot?

The above screenshot displays what is probably my new favorite DT3 boss fight. It uses some mechanics that were normally reserved for just exploration and obstacle surpassing. It turned out pretty great I think.

And now for another shot. (Because I don't want to spoil how the above encounter works.)

More birds have invaded the game. Look at these little guys, they're just so adorable. Also another change to the game is that the dive-bombing birds will only fly away from Jerry.

There is now a short FAQ linked at the top alongside the Contact Me page and the very coveted Squirrel Spider. Don't lie to yourself, you want one, more than you've ever wanted anything.


Another Pooooost

Edit: (7/4/14) Screenshot added.

Something to do with ghosts... or not.

I have a Let's Play video up for the first time ever where I talk waaay too much and derp up some audio stuff. Jeremy told me to buy Broforce and because I can, I did. Here's our first adventures into Broforce. There are player built levels that we're going to tackle next. Hopefully they're multiplayer as well, if they are, I'll do another video of those.

Jeremy's voice is no longer a mystery.
There's a bit of in-joke lingo we use. I didn't initially intend to upload the video, and was just recording for the sake of recording it.

DT3 Stuff
For this, I'm currently coding some sort of turret that can detach itself from the wall and then fly around raining down a hellstorm of bombs.

There's quite a bit going on here that isn't apparent in the image.


Another Great Game

Is Shovel Knight which was just released shortly ago. I don't think I need to say much about it. It's on the WiiU, 3DS, and PC (+Steam). The link there is the game's official site, which has all the infos and a video.

You could also check out Brian's LP of it. Looks like he's doing that and Tobias. He'll be finishing Tobias, he has no choice really.

DT3 Progress
Chapter 18 is going along well, slowly because real life is being a needy female dog right now. Lots of new AI to code as well. Jerry and Claire get to face off against probably the toughest enemies in the trilogy. These guys are the bulk of the end-game combat. Maybe a video to showcase just a single group, maybe not. Probably not, it gives away surprises.


I Feel Like I Need To Mention This

Have you heard about 'Tobias and the Dark Sceptres'? There's a link that I think you should follow in the previous sentence. This was shared to me by two people already. It's a game that was made in the span of 13 years, the video shown in the link 4 sentences ago will tell you all about it. I think you should have a go at this, I recently watched WhattayaBrian's first Let'sPlay video of the game and I'm getting some good vibes from it. It's an odd game, definitely made by someone who started it when they were young, with a few technical oddities. However, there's a certain charm about it that's really nifty and there's a lot of really cool little touches that show the creator really loved making it and put a lot of himself into it.

Brian's first LP video of it can be found by clicking anywhere on this entire sentence.


Enemy Support Units

I mentioned a long time ago that DT3 was going to have a group that all supported one another and mentioned a key unit in the group. That one being specifically a support unit that could heal/shield allies. This is no longer happening, but... it is happening. Instead I've repurposed that idea to be a bit more broad. In the later parts of the game, the protagonists are constantly facing off against a certain group, and within this group are various support units. Instead of having a single enemy type that can do everything and only support its squad, it can now support any ally within its faction. (Remember in the scan info, the icon that showed if it was a Mario or Zelda related enemy?)

Before this change, I was going to allow support bots to use their abilities on one another. With this more broad approach, I felt that would be a bad idea, and for science I tested it. It was rather disheartening to see a shielding bot being fully recovered by a healer when it was nearly down. Even worse though, was the healer being shielded. This constraint felt right after that.

The healers and shielders can only target a single unit at a time. Healers check all nearby units and prioritize both on the group's current HP% and a hidden value that all of that faction's enemies have. (Some of them are a hair bit more important than others.) At the time of typing this, they can heal up to 150HP/sec, but after doing more field tests, that may change. It tends to keep its target between it and the player, but it still has to be close to its target to heal.

The shielding bots can shield a single ally and make it completely invulnerable. It has no cooldown or overheat, so it's able to hold the shield indefiniately, however it has to be fairly close to its target to shield it. It isn't as active at playing 'keep-away' from the player as the healer.

There is one other type of support unit, but that one is a secret.

All support units have an auto-regeneration that (once again at the time of typing this) recover 15HP/sec.



After spending about 30 minutes trying to make an enemy that checks all of its allies HP% counts and tries to find the lowest one (which is easy), but may need to find the second or third next value, I remember that Game Maker has data structures and this could have been solved in seconds. Fuck me.

I know!

I drew a picture displaying my frustration with myself. Done in Photoshop for overkill.


DT Blog Post

Now that I've been reminded about posting a grackle video, here it is.

Map Headers
I got asked about those little window map headers that DT1 had and asked A LOT, by both the testers and all of you that played the DT3 demo if they would return.

The sentence above should tell you what happened. It wasn't till a fair ways in that I decided to put that in and you can imagine the crazy amount of maps as a backlog I suddenly had. At this point in the game, most of it was in the Gate levels as they take a large portion of the gameplay up to Chapter 16. For quite a few of the Gate and Nightmare Gate levels, I allowed the testers to add in the map quotes. They've had a big impact on the game and that seemed like a good way to let them put a bit of their voice in there.

Progress Update
Chapter 17 is done, so that leaves 3 more plot points to cover. Getting closer. The next level involves mountains, skies with stars, and snowballs. And some other things that have nothing to do with the rest of that.

It had some games that looked fun. That is all. Oh right, Splatoons looked really neat. I'll be following that one for awhile. I should fangasm over the Zelda trailer, but not much was shown and I don't think they'll be showing anything else during the rest of E3. I just need a little more than Link suddenly being chased down by some thingie, then turning around and going all Matrix on it with a wonky looking bow. It looks pretty at least, but I knew that would be the case.


See, I'm Talking About Birds

This month at work I did a promotion thingy and am no longer working outside, which is both good and bad. I don't get to see my birds all day, but I don't have to die of heat like I did every day last summer. I do go outside on every lunch break though and my birds are still as happy as ever to see me.

Here's a picture of one getting a bit upset that another bird was approaching. He likes being special.

I like their poofy feathers when they get upset. This one doesn't like either males or females around when he approaches.
I'll be posting again soonish with a video of a bird, but I need to cut out some useless stuff where I didn't turn off the recording and all that.

DT3 Stuff
Chapter 17 is getting somewhat close to being done. I wish I had more time this last month to work on it, but next month should change that.

In this shot, Claire is about to run face first into a laser because the turrets above her know how to lead their targets. She'll learn after the first mistake though. Oh yeah, spoilers, some enemies in DT3 can lead their shots.


Will Talk About Birds Next Time

I removed the DT3 demo on April 1st for the little Breakout game. The DT3 demo will stay removed as its purpose was primarily to get feedback on a greater scale and it succeed in that. Keeping it up now, I feel, will give bad impressions of the final version, which is much different than that demo.

Also I lied, there's more than 3 Ability Sets for Jerry and Claire. They don't show up for Gates, but instead for specific events. What they are is a secret of course. Essentially, alternate ways to look at and mix certain genres into platforming happen from time to time.

Currently focusing on Chapter 17 content, which is the start of the final parts of the story. Gameplay wise, I try a different approach to enemies spawning in and how they engage the player. One enemy from DT1 made its way into this level. Our friend from The Hideout, the Aero Scanner, is back. He was the one with the laser pointer that dealt damage if you either weren't using i-frames or had something between you and it to block line of sight. The environment and its hazards also plays into some of the rules of how enemies engage the player in the level in Chapter 17.

No more info to give!! It's hard to talk about the game on any specifics at this point because giving away anything would spoil the experience.

Another Big Change
WhattayaBrian presented a suggestion to me a few months back about how to change the way arrow ammo worked. The basic idea was when the player runs out of ammo, it goes into a somewhat lengthy reload and afterward, the player has their arrows back. Each pickup would add 1 to the capacity instead of 5. His issue with arrow pickups was that they didn't feel very substantial. I actually disagreed that arrow pickups felt insubstantial, but the idea itself went onto fixing another issue. That being limited ammo. I like the idea of ammo shortage and what it does, but all the other ability sets in the game (missiles worked the same as arrows and are included in this change) allow the player to be completely self-sufficient.

As a designer, if I know the player can't run out of ammo completely, there's a lot more I can do. So I presented the idea to the testers to see what they all thought about it and what they thought could be done. My goal was mainly to make the player self-sufficient. The player now starts with 10 arrows. (Missiles will follow these rules.) Quiver pickups only add 1 to the capacity now, following the above suggestion. For ammo recovery, it follows along the other sets of auto-recovery over time. There are new rules over the recovery rates for arrows and missiles that make sure the player can run out of ammo, but that it can replenlish them reasonably, even mid-combat.

There's also this other weird thing with video games and things in limited quantity. They feel more important and precious and therefore aren't utilized as often. WhattayaBrian mentioned this about arrows. (and he wasn't the only one) NNZ recently said, "Even if I have 500 Megalixirs, I won't use them till the final boss." or close to that. This addresses that issue with arrows and missiles too. They were intended to be used alongside the primary weapons, not an after thought, or something you saved for THAT moment or a boss fight.

It hasn't been live for the testers for very long, but the feedback for it has been positive so far. Further testing will reveal how much more tweaking will be needed.

A Question
This appeared a few days ago.

“Will the final chapter be similiar to the Secured Data Segment in the sense that it is a huge dungeon with a new awesome but challenging gimmick (SDS did have the colour wheels)?”

I don't want to say much about the final chapter. That said, it's not going to mirror what DT1 did in regards to what it did in contrast to the rest of the game. In DT1's final level (Secured Data Segment, we'll not count the power trip that is Primary Memory), I aimed to make the player feel somewhat lonely, frustrated, and a bit anxious. On the gameplay side, it focused almost entirely on the color fields.

DT3's final dungeon isn't going to be about any specific gameplay gimmick or even about the level itself. Will it be challenging? Of course, it wouldn't be DT without that, but that's not the focus. I've done the “This is going to be challenging” to death, I can do better than that.

“Is the DT trilogy an alegory about the hardships of video game development?”

Not sure where this idea sprung up from but you're thinking too hard about it. I shall give a silly answer. It's an alegory about myself and my misunderstanding of the English language put in video game form.


Changing Methods

Slaix and I had a conversation that involved randomized and deterministic elements in games. I won't go into exactly what we were talking about, but later on when thinking about it, it did remind me of the shift I've had in designing DT3, especially compared to DT1. That being, everything being designed lately has not had any random elements to them. Every action an enemy has is completely deterministic based on it and the player's current state.

Flame Instigator
Thinking back to the Flame Instigator fight in DT1. All his actions were somewhat randomized, but depending on what was happening, certain actions had a much better chance of occuring than others. At the time, I felt that was okay. Had I made that today, there would have been more to his decision making and no random elements would be around.

Looking at Death, he has 3 scythe swings that can be chosen, in a combo of 3. These are chosen at random, which will be changed before the final version is released. I'll instead, set up a table that he cycles through. (Though I will have something set up that will skip or reset the table to keep it from being a set sequence every cycle.) I'm somewhat okay with that random element, given what it is, but in an encounter like Death, I'd like everything to be consistent.

Another random element to Death are where the single spawning scythes appear. They always appear at the top of the screen, with a variance of 16 pixels along the y. For x, they'll appear anywhere randomly within a 32 pixel margin border of the map sides. This will change to always be consistent for the final version. Something like spawning it directly above him, then the next spawn above the player, then the next being the median between the two along x, always near the top of the screen.

The larger scythe summon (where he'd kneel) has always been set in a sequence. The first is on the left, then right, then the top, and it repeats that cycle.

Gate G Boss
I won't be spoiling who/what it is, however the fight has similar elements of the above 2 encounters. I'll be keeping with my current standards of it being 100% deterministic.


Getting There

The final Gate level for DT3 has been finished! That doesn't mean DT3 is close to being complete (it is, but it isn't), getting there, but there's still quite a bit to do. Unlike DT1, which ended shortly after all the McGuffins were obtained, DT3 has quite a bit more that happens, which I've been referring to as 'End Game'. This takes place over the last 1/4 of the chapters (16-20). Though chapter 16 is a very short event that plays out in a crossover minigame. 17 and 18 have about as much content as chapter 7 (Begonia). 19 and 20 are fairly expansive sections of the game. So... it's getting there.

NZZ did a silly thing with the debug mode. This is 'technically' possible to occur under normal game rules, but would take forever to actually make happen and... well, all that spam.

I've also recently uploaded a video about some of the changes made to the game.

ZephyrBurst: Oh yeah, I'm doing it. I'm putting flashbacks in DT3.
ZephyrBurst: Well sorta.
ZephyrBurst: Towards the end of gate 6, there's a place called 'Dream Woods'.
Slaix223: Oh no.
Slaix223: Make sure to start it off with a flashback of when they entered Dream Woods.


Final Version

Been keeping a surprise for awhile. DT3 has been complete the last few weeks, but I just wanted to polish it up more before releasing it. Its been quite a thing to make this game and I definitely won't be tackling something so large on my own like this ever again. I enjoyed it though, even if I did go through a few down times with it and had to back away from the project now and then.

One thing to note, your demo save will not be compatible with this version, though I believe I mentioned that way back in the day. Someone is making a trailer for the game and that should be up soon, which is pretty cool of them to do so. Anyway, enjoy the game, things are a lot different this time than they were in the demo.

I said in the past that I would be releasing the project files for all 3 games, this is still true and will happen in a few months. And with that, I am done with the DT series at this point and will not be providing that much support for using the project files. I'll still be updating DT3 as far as bug fixes and all that go though, as I'm sure a few slipped through to the build released today.

You can get it here or in the usual spot on the side.


Updates For Now

Edit: (3/5/2014) DT1 and DT2 have been updated to fix a few things that DT3 had recently gotten.
- When starting/closing the game (for Windows 7 users) it will no longer flash your monitor black for a moment as if it's trying to reset your display.
- An input bug that would cause you to redo an action after taking damage if the key/button was still held down has been fixed. This was most noticeable in DT2.
- When using F3 to swap window sizes, it will no longer cause full screen to function improperly.

Also the Filefront downloads have been removed completely. Filefront has changed their upload methods and policies and I am no longer using their service. Most of the Filefront links didn't work anyway. I will look into an alternate download source for people that can't connect to dropbox servers. I've been given a tip for google drive and have been thinking about them anyway. That may appear on the side links in the future.

I don't post updates here too much lately. I'd rather not talk too much about what's happening with DT3, plot or gameplay wise on where it's at, cause spoilers. Expect monthly updates instead where I'll do an info dump of stuff.

But before all that, grackles!

Here's “Alexander the Destroyer of Worlds” posing for the camera.

Gate 6 Mobility
The player gets one more mobility based ability during Gate 6 that can be brought outside once the Gate is complete. It's pretty nifty how just one thing changes how the game feels and plays. It had been in the game for some time, but feeling it out in levels that are designed to make use of it shows it's quite a game changer.

I'll spoil it, it's nothing too original. It's a double jump, a proper double jump. No Blast-Off to cover that and yes, you still get your air-dash. Currently, it uses the same recovery logic that air-dashes use as well. This was originally going to be an upgrade to the jump height of the player, but anomaly had convinced me a double jump would be a better alternative mostly due to a height upgrade would throw off what the player had been used to for so long. I had come up with plenty of my own reasons why I liked the idea as well. The big idea for it is to cover more ground vertically. There is a design complication with DT and its vertical shenanegans that I will be covering in a video. The voice quality should be tons better as well. I've been working on projecting my voice better and not speaking so fast. That and Jerry got me a new mic, cause he's seen some of my videos and made fun of me, then said, "You need a new mic, expect one for Christmas!" So that happened. (Quality difference is crazy noticable.)

Money Change
Income in DT3 is an issue. No matter the price of items, it seems it's an issue. The tester that was big on this was NZZ, and he had come up with some ideas of reducing late game farming without making money useless altogether. One thing being a way to get 2x money from enemy drops.

WhattayaBrian had also mentioned these issues to me and suggested a crazy change. His idea was to change wallet upgrades (those things that increase your wallet capacity by 100) to money pickup multipliers and make the wallet capacity a fixed value. To make a tl:dr version of the conversation. I went with his idea as I liked the reasons why and it covered the issues that NZZ was having with income in the game.

I had 20 wallet pickups and decided not to change that value. Each pickup increases money from enemy drops by 10%. So up to 3x money gain. The base coin value in DT3 from greens is 1. That number can't be multiplied by 1.1 very well, so the base coin value was changed to 10. Blues give 50, yellows give 100. Everything else in the game had its current price increased by x10 as well. Items that were once 320 are now 3200. Within the game rules, nothing has changed, simply an extra digit. The new wallet capacity is currently 20000.

So if you have collected 11 of the wallet upgrades(will be name changed), you will be recieving 2.1x(or 105%) more money from each drop you collect. A green(10) will be worth 21, a blue(50) will be worth 105. Bigger numbers means better game!

Slaix223 had this to say about it.
"And in a single update, DT3's economy collapsed."

WhattayaBrian's response to the previous post's quote.
"I saw the post.
I am immortalized."


Everyone's Favorite Gimmick

Is wind. One of the more prominent Gate 6 locations is a wind level. Wind is fairly hated from what I've seen, aside from raocow, who we all know just absolutely loves wind. For wind, I've found that for it to work and not be frustrating, it needs to be consistent. For my level, I'm allowing the player to have some control over it. In its current iteration, it affects the player a bit more if they're in the air than if they're on the ground. It will never have multiple speeds though. The main thing the player controls is if it blows to the left or right. For parts of it, I'm leaving this up to player preference, but there are places where this will be used for puzzle solving, so one direction may be required at set times. There's a few places where wind blows upward as well, but that's not used as much as the horizontal wind. There are also effects put in place, much like the underwater fans in the demo's chapter 8 mountain dungeon, to let the player know where wind is going to affect them. (The horizontal effect is typically covering an entire map for this area.)

Stuff That Pisses Me Off
A bit of a rant here.

If you're not aware of and what it's doing, you should be. They've been attempting to get a trademark on words such as 'Candy' and 'Saga' so they have no competitors for their products. Won't go into much detail here as the link here and a quick google search can give you all the info you'd need.

Other things they've been doing, shown here.

The above should anger you, I understand corporations look after their own interests, but this is way crossing the line. If you're playing anything from this company, you're supporting the enemy.

Other Stuff
Next blog post may be devoted to other games entirely.

In other news, the bottom quote is completely relevant and I said I'd quote it.

"I'd rather play Dark Souls than Ninja Gaiden 2."


Streaming Games

Edit: (Jan. 31, 2014) This project just needs a few more supporters on Thunderclap. At the time of this posting, it only needs 5 more and 13 hours to go. It isn't a kickstarter, on Thunderclap, you simply use one of a few social media networks that you're on and if this support page gets to its goal, it will post about the project, Positron specifically in this case, to that network you chose. If you can, that would be great. (I am not directly involved with this project.)

I gotta get some new pictures and/or videos of the birds soon. All this talk of grackles and no media makes for stuff not being as entertaining.

Gate 6 Progress
It's coming along nicely, especially now that I have more feedback from the testers about some of the finer nuances of its mechanics. Some fine tuning will need to be done. There was a thing where, as Claire, you could get 2 attacks in after a parry and get that 3x damage twice if you attacked at just the right time. I was uneasy with this, but left it in to see if any of the testers made comments on it. My thought was, if even one person mentions this feeling weird, the timings of Claire's attack and parry phase will be adjusted to not allow this. I got a comment on this phenomenon that mentioned it felt weird and inconsistent, you know what will soon follow. Another note to make about the Gate, that isn't really a spoiler, is that both characters only get 2 offensive abilities. (And their own version of Guard.) The second ability for each character comes later in the Gate and is set up to be utilized far less than the first that each character obtains. Both of them are fairly indirect methods of attack, though Jerry's has lock-on capabilities. Their use is also fairly limited, which will be immediately noticeable after its first use. There is no cooldown, but something else keeps them from being abused. They also don't benefit from the 3x parry bonus. I think I've gone through 5 iterations for each of them until finding something that I felt was right.

I've been toying around with streaming a lot more ever since I got a second monitor, and I've finally found good stream settings for my computer and connection speed. I don't have specific times that I stream, but it's usually in the late evening. There may be times that I call it out on twitter now. If I'm playing a game on my PC, I'll most likely be streaming it, partially because it will be recording as well. I'm typically playing Planetside 2 or Dark Souls. Other games will definitely show up. There are also times when I'm streaming DT3 content to someone for various reasons. If you happen to see that, you may get to sneak a peek at my terrible coding practices. (And more in depth when I release the project file after DT3 is completed.) I can't lock my stream, so yeah. :P
It is here!


It Might Snow

Oh man, the birds have finally come back after their winter moving about business. After weeks of absense, they've shown up and immediately demanded, by standing at a fairly close distance, that I feed them. Luckily I always bring food, just in case of days like that where they will suddenly show up again. The birding will soon begin again!

Gate 6 Questions

Question 1
The question that popped up the most after the last blog post was: "Is the parry mandatory in the game?"

There is very rarely ever a case where I'll put in a mechanic that isn't necessary at some point. However, I am trying to make sure that for most scenarios, there are other options. All the non-boss enemy types with shields, even the one that doesn't put the shield to the side when attacking, have other methods the player can use. That said, most other methods are not optimal to parrying, and the beginning of the Gate when the player has very little offensive options, parrying is super useful there. I've made sure that it's not too hard to execute and counter afterward, since the usefulness of the parry is in the counter. There is a boss fight that will require the parry, and Nightmare Gate boss will definitely require it from both characters.

So for the tl:dr answer; yes it is absolutely mandatory, but only in a small number of scenarios.

Question 2
Another question that I thought I had already answered, but I was probably too vague on was: "Is the Gate 6 ability set useable outside of the Gate like the other abilities?"

No, this ability is exclusive to this Gate and its Nightmare counterpart. It doesn't work well alongside the other ability sets, and it was never the intention after the Gate redesign to make it that way. Althrough, there is a mobility based action that is gained within the Gate that is usable outside once the Gate is complete. Since dashing is never usable in Gate 6, the player is given the chance to become familiar with this action without dashing/air dashing.

The other abilities are also not usable inside the Gate even after it's completed. This isn't a technical issue, this is by design. I'm finding that the number of technical limitations I run into that are brought on by my own inability to code something properly, is declining by quite a lot.

And now for a screenshot! Claire may have dealt damage, but at what cost?

Wrong move Claire!


Editing Games

One More Gate 6 Thing

This is another segment of the game where there is no dashing, and enemies cannot be stunned. For this Gate, both characters have access to blocking.

Ignore everything about that UI element except for the bottom right meter with the shield icon. As you guard, that meter depletes and while you're not guarding it regenerates. The shield breaks if that meter is fully depleted and will recover in a few seconds. That's pretty straight forward, but DT has a few extra rules attached.

While the shield is broken, the player takes double damage from all sources. When the player successfully blocks an attack, the attack takes a chunk of the shield energy away. However, if the player blocks just as an enemy attacks, they'll parry, which removes no shield energy (you get some back actually) and the player is invulnerable for a very short moment and deals triple damage during that. This is how Claire works. She can only block close range attacks.

Jerry however, can block ranged attacks, like projectiles, and can parry from those. Jerry doesn't get an invulnerably state, but his damage is tripled for much longer than Claire. Claire is primarily close range in Gate 6, while Jerry is all ranged attacks. The rules favor Claire over Jerry. At least I think so, and I'm fine with that. Of course there will be scenarios set up to make use of both characters, but what I have set up, Claire seems to benefit the most. She needs more screen time anyway.

I know what some people are thinking. Spam the shield!! That doesn't work. There is an initial cost to using the shield, and spamming it to attempt to perform an easy parry, will significantly increase that initial cost during the spam fest, usually ending up in breaking the shield, and the player taking double damage from a giant sword. The player cannot use Claire and jump themselves onto an enemy to perform a parry either. The enemy has to be performing an attack.

I've yet to allow the testers to use it, but I'm sure once they get a hold of that build, I'll be tuning some numbers. And that's the end of any more info on Gate 6 till you experience it for yourself.

DT1 Debug Mode

Remember when Negative Zero Z did an S Rank Run of DT1? The game tells you how to unlock its debug mode when you achieve that rank, which he has shown how to do here. You don't actually have to have a save with an S rank, the code he gives works at any time.

On this debug mode stuff, DT2 does not have one available in the final build. DT3 might have something like that hidden away... probably will, and it'll be just as obscure to unlock.


The Disney film that was released in November. I won't say anything about it other than it was enjoyable for the most part. Could use a few less songs though. There is one song, that luckily Disney has up on youtube that I found amazing, easily my favorite Disney song, topping even 'Hellfire' and 'Make a Man out of You'.


If you haven't played this game yet, I think you should. It's pretty damn amazing. Slaix brought my attention to it recently. There's not much I can say that isn't said on the game's site or from various reviews found. What I found odd though, was that almost no one mentioned the game's story, or simply glossed over it. Maybe so there's no room for spoilers, but the narrative is what I'm most fond of from the game. Very well done, and quite dark, so prepare for that if you are interested. The site linked below will tell you what the game is about. Spoilers, there's ghosts.