Stuff Under the Header


Musical Chairs

Edit: (July 24, 2011) I forgot to mention this, Mega Man Legends 3 was cancelled! WTF?! :(

This is the 85th post to this blog. You guys know what that means right?

Chapter 2 is done and Slaix has tested it. Got some good feedback from him and am awaiting another report from someone else. Meanwhile, the next section of the game is coming along.

Music is now loaded into memory as it's needed in the game. I haven't seen any hiccups or points when it needs to stop to load the music resource going into memory. They are also removed from memory when they are not needed, as opposed to DT1 which did not manage this at all. The resource loading time after the game launches is almost non-existent. The overhead is... super low now. I think I said this once before too, but saving is practically instantaneous too. DT3 has much more data to store than DT1 too. Everything is working great, despite me being a horrible programmer.

So I don't really want to show any screenshots. I'll show one of how the map screen looks sometime, but for now, here's a boring chart that describes how I'm handling difficulty in DT3.

DT3's download (you know, in a few years) won't be hosted on adware spamming sites, I'll be hosting it from a dropbox. Later on I'll be adding a download for DT1 and 2 to dropbox as well. No more waiting pointlessly on that timer and no more ads. The next post might be a rant... maybe, depends if I can gather my thoughts on the topic properly.

Also ponies... because I can. :P


Hannah Nebraska

If you play Metal Gear Online (MGS4), and run into a character in it with the above name, that's my roommate Jerry. He wanted to name her Hannah South Dakota, but it wouldn't fit. So life hasn't allowed me any time the last few days to work on DT3. Actually it has, but during the times I had free, I was either hanging out with my roommates, (this happens a lot, we're high school friends actually... well not Jerry and Jeremy, I'm just the bridge) playing Borderlands, (SteamID/gamespyID: ZephyrBurst) or RPing. I role play from time to time, it's fun and it gets the creative cogs turning. This lack of free time, err, free time given to other activities is also why there's no video. :D (No I lied, there's also real life and all that, wait a minute... the above still applies, so it's not a lie.)

Project CAS
There's a nifty little project that I've watched for the past several months. It's been interesting watching it grow and expand in every way. The engine, gameplay, and art, especially the art, have come a long way and seen a few revisions. You can see the progress that's been made on the art throughout the blog that's been set up for it here. Check it out if you have the time, it's had a lot of work put into it.

Nothing to post about DT at this time.


Experimental Spiders

Edit: (July 11, 2011) No video of DT3 it looks like. I was busy with IGDA stuff most of the weekend and then hung out with the roommates the rest of it. Instead of announcing a soon-to-be-released video, I'll just skip the partial hype and suddenly pop it out of nowhere.

Edit: (July 8, 2011) I might actually post a video this weekend! It will be short, but hey, it's a video! :D

Meant to mention this two posts ago. I finally found that spider again! It was crawling along the side of my bed. You know what this means? IT COULD HAVE CRAWLED ON ME IN MY SLEEP! Anyway, I removed it from the premise, so that is no longer an issue, and my window spiders are safe!

The Claustrophobia Test, (but not really)
I periodically use random DT players (you guys) as guinea pigs in obscure tests. They're mostly oddball ideas that pop into my head, but some of them produce interesting results. For example:

Shot A
Shot B

These two shots are, gameplay wise, exactly the same. You could argue against that for some situational things in DT with its utility spells, but for 99.99% of the players and time, this will present the exact same gameplay. During the following examples, I didn't bring the above point up, I merely showed the shots and asked a question with no other context, so with that...
Question 1
I showed these two shots to a number of people and asked which one they felt more threated in. That question left things somewhat mixed, 7/10 of them said they felt more threated in Shot B.
Question 2
Then I asked which one they felt more likely to fall off the platforms in. And this was the surprising part, every person said Shot B.
Question 3
I followed that question up with which one they felt safer in. I know it's sort of asking the opposite of question 1, but again, I was surprised to find that everyone said Shot A.

I derped a lot of things with this test though. I should have been documenting their responses and explanations for their answers. Though I do think the results explain themselves, I see it as inconclusive since I failed to record and document everything properly. The only accurate part of it are the tallies of what people chose.

There are some other little tests like this that I've done and will continue to do in the future. I'll be making them more public from now on though.

Design Decision with Gate 1
Gate 1 is the first major gameplay point in the game. It is reached within minutes of the game's beginning and is where the Mario levels take place. Since it's essentially the first level in the game, I wanted to keep things simple and straight forward. I thought about having a few branching paths, but I didn't want to add that sort of complexity for this part of the game, so went with a simple Mario approach. There is one spot where you'll backtrack through 2 maps, but that is all. These maps are set up to be a very different feel both ways and are designed with the backtrack path in mind. That aside, it's a simple stroll through various Mario themes mixed with some DT elements for the second half of it. I feel it's a good beginning level that will have the player seeing the Game Over screen only a small handful of times. For the optional pick ups like Heart Pieces, Chests, etc, all of them can be obtained on the first time through. Some, no, all of them are obviously easier on return visits. Some of them may look impossible to get, but with enough observation, you can get them. Most of them don't take a lot of finesse to get.

One thing which may disappoint people is the big major bosses at the end of the 7 gates do not offer a full heart container like Zelda bosses would give. I'll be designing the damage enemies deal to the player as if they collected 80% of the heart pieces up to that point. (That are reasonably obtainable.) But really, you shouldn't be getting hit. It's not like DT has difficult to dodge attacks or anything. :P


An Update The Day After An Update

What is this madness!!

This update is about one thing only, and that is to tell you to watch the series Firefly. If you've seen it, you know why I'm posting about it. If not... go see why! :D Also go watch Friendship is Magic as well.

I Lied
This update is actually not about the above. Significant progress has been made on the project. The item shop interface and equipment sub-menu are all fully functional. Shop owners can all have unique items instead of DT1's static shops. (Like it should be.)

The Item Shop Window, fairly standard.

I'm really happy with the whole thing. (The project in general.) Everything is nice and optimized. There's more going on with DT3's system and it runs a whole lot better than DT1 ever did. I look back on DT1's code and I wonder how the game even ran at all sometimes. The code was inefficient (and still is in some aspects) and was sloppy. Slaix knows about a few of my coding atrocities with it. He probably cringed hard at how collectibles were handled, and that wasn't even the worst part of it. I dare not tell you how some of DT1's systems were handled. Luckily DT3 has none of that. I leveled up throughout the first DT project. :D

Well I guess that's it for now.


Better Than Terrorism

Ignore the title, it's an obscure reference having to do with ponies. It doesn't let me post an update if it's blank, believe me I tried.

Part 2 Update
Part 2 has been updated, which should have been done the day after the previous update but... I have excuse, I just suck. It's what the previous update had, but with sound. Yes, you're reading this right, I left a broken version up for 2 months. :s

Duke Nukem Imposter Review
So I said last week I was possibly going to review this game and it looks like I'm just going to give my perspective on it. My first observation was regenerating health, not TOO big a deal, we'll see if it doesn't create hide & heal gameplay. Then suddenly I'm hit with a 2 gun rule. ......................................................... See now we're getting into modern shooter gameplay a bit too much. I find that unnecessary for this game. There were quite a few times when I found myself wishing I could hold that other gun lying there, but don't want to trade out my pistol and rifle. I'd grab a Shrink Ray, but that leaves me with 1 useful gun. Or at least 1 gun that doesn't run out of ammo in 5 shots. (Slight exaggeration.) I actually ran out of ammo once. Maybe I just suck, but this shouldn't be happening. I never run out of ammo in FPS games. (That's a lie, I did on the Perfect Agent setting in Perfect Dark on occasion.) I wanted to scream at the gun balance so many times. 2 guns worked in Halo because the devs had that rule in mind when they were designing their levels. What happened here? It never felt like game balance, it was just annoying. A bit further in and I find that the regenerating health is indeed annoying and encourages hide and heal gameplay. There are these lunging enemies that seem to gravitate toward Duke and take 2/3 of his health with each hit. o_O They would always come in pairs. I'd shoot one, the other would hit me, I shoot him and hide. This was 99% of the encounters with them. It's why I don't like regenerating health. I never felt threatened, just annoyed that I had to hide for 5 seconds yet again. Melee attacks that killed its target would fully regenerate your health, that was the only good idea that I saw and it actually helped some encounters flow well.

The worst part for me wasn't the atrocious gameplay elements, the lag, the long loading, the horrendous amount of bugs... nah, none of that. It was something I thought would save the game since the rest of it sucked. But it's the diarrhea icing on the shit cake here. The writing... The old Duke Nukem games had cheesy humor mixed with satirical puns. Lots of one liners, but humorous ones on par with Star Fox 64. This game was just flat out offensive and shallow. Some of you that know me from forums or chat rooms (or in person) know I love a good misogynistic joke here and there, even to the point of pissing off every girl around. But even this offended me. It got tiring very quick. The jokes weren't funny, they were just hateful with nothing to back them up. There was no satire, build up, or any hint of clever writing behind them. I didn't actually finish the game and I never will. I just couldn't stand it anymore. Also the levels were super linear and not reminiscent of earlier shooters.

Other M Thingy
Here's another game that got a lot of hate. I don't quite understand why though, since it was a brilliant piece of work. It was a good light-hearted joke at the Metroid universe in general. A comical look at Samus' character and the inferiority of women. Seeing Samus take orders from a somewhat unknown and unanimously hated character, to the point of blind stupidity, was a perfect look at the optimal roles women should and can serve in society. The point when Samus almost literally crawled into a fetal position over the sight of Ridley only backed up the satirical nature of the game and really helped drive the point about, as stated before, women's inferiority. We had a downer ending that completely missed the point. There was a weak and disappointing final encounter, but this only helped to amplify the main point of the game which continually bombards the player with bad dialogue, forgettable characters, and endless plotholes. That's exactly what made this game the wonderful gem it was. We see the brilliance in the writing by it being consistently bad. What we're left with is not a terrible game, but a misunderstood and wonderful satire on a game series we all know and love.

So now onto what this blog is about...