Stuff Under the Header


Awesome Things and Other Things

Edit: (September 30,2012) DT2 got a small patch. The 'exe only' link has returned as well. Mainly to fix those issues found with the shooter level and assisting with chaining on its end boss. An edit was made to the final sequence involving the game over screen. The random piece and rotation on level 4-1 has not been changed yet.

NegativeZeroZ did a really awesome thing. He's got a video of beating the Shroud Lord on Distorted and looks pretty awesome doing so. Check it out here. His use of Wind Burst near the end had to be my favorite part. Check the video info as well, he's left a very detailed dealy-bob on what methods he used and why he used them.

On that first game, has anyone ever pressed Enter in the save room? The answer to the question given is what the S rank was supposed to reveal, but I'm a derp and forgot to have it actually give, though I don't know of anyone actually getting an S rank without screwing with their save data. The answer may be revealed years down the road and has nothing to do with the game.

Close Encounter
More bird stuff. This one was about 1 foot from my feet when I took the picture. She was pretty pleased when I dropped food around me. A lot of the birds know they can approach me, but very few will come within 6 feet. Even fewer will come as close as this one did.

This bird followed me all day. I'm not entirely sure what she was so curious about, but my guess is she found a bug to eat.

This is a different bird from the previous image. She came very close, right up to my feet.

You saw the bird on the right (our right) two images ago. The other looks very curious.

There she is again.

A small gathering of them that tracked me down. The bird on the right also appeared in three of the images before this. One is scratching an itch, and the one close to the bird following me was caught mid-blink.

And there she is again. She found me all throughout the day. When I pressed the button on the camera, she was looking up at me, but it looks like the time I press and the time it takes for the camera to actually take a picture is enough time for her to glance down.

Still haven't been able to get a picture of my bird, but he's only around during the morning and afternoon. I've either been too busy to be around during that time, or I'm not around till later when the grackles are all getting ready to roost. During that time, he's way up at the top of a tree calling out to the flock. I've been good about remembering my camera, so eventually I'll get a picture of him. I just hope he doesn't move somewhere else during the season change cause it won't be till about March or April that he would come back.

Yay Video Games
Since the 18th, I've been playing a lot of Borderlands 2 and been enjoying it a ton. I haven't played a game this much since uh... the first Borderlands. Been playing it with a friend.

Color Wheels in DT3
Will they show up? Yes, but not for very long and their role has changed a bit. Since the HUD no longer shows the color order, a new HUD element is added that shows the order the wheels demand. The wheels themselves are also removed, instead the HUD element will display when it demands the player to be in a specific place. It also constantly displays how far off a warning is, and a countdown will begin when it wants the player's attention. Unlike when they appeared in DT1 and DT2, they are not the main element of the level, but like before, they will be dictating player actions at times. The time between warnings is larger and the color fields are generally bigger. Oh yes, the color coded cannons and blades don't show up again.

The major reason for the bigger fields, aside from it being better to maneuver with, is they have new ways of interacting with the game. Some of them can move about, but that's minor. The bigger element is they now interact with certain enemies. I won't spoil anything else about those though. Their role has changed from being a major obstacle into more of a puzzle element. So yeah, to answer recent comments on their appearance in DT3, yes, but limited to one area again and not for very long.

Other Things
Next post I may rant about something if I can collect my thoughts on the subject properly. It's not DT related and I'll mark when the rant starts.


Double Dr... uh, Bromance

Edit: (September 20,2012) There was an edit below that I meant to have earlier.

I really liked the old school street brawling games like River City Ransom and Double Dragon. Recently, I checked out some stuff online about Double Dragon Neon, then tried the trial with Jerry. Oh man was that a good move. The game is just super fun. Now I don't know what it's like alone, but with a friend, it's just great bromantic fun. It's got the same beat-em-up feel the old games have with a modern touch. I found the writing cheesy and over-the-top the whole time, which felt right and meshed well with everything else going on.

The gameplay is what you'd expect from a side scrolling beat-em-up. Punch and kick the bad guys till they don't get up, mix in some special moves, a bit of dodging which doubles your power for a short time, and there you go. Everything is tailored to work better with your bro, err, with multiplayer, including a humorous way to share/steal life from each other through giving high-fives, as well as both bros doubling their power.

Check it out, it's tons of fun, and is simply a video game. Also the music kicks ass, which can all be downloaded for free here. Or you can also pay what you want, which is nice to support people who do awesome things. Grab your bro and have fun!

More Grackles and Bad Cameras

Really bad image quality, I either need a better camera or learn how to actually use the one I have. Probably the latter. The quality is usually bad without natural light. Two male grackles foraging in the rain. They seem to like when it rains softly.

I really like the white stripe on this bird's chest.

DT3 Life and Respawning
So you know when you die in DT1 and DT3, you continue as if you had just entered the room with the exact life count from before? (Well DT1 recently puts you just above the flashing red screen threshold.) DT3 does give a bit of help. If you've got a max of 6-10 hearts, you'll restart with 2 hearts if below that. If 11-15, you'll start with 3, etc. Recently, after the current demo, that was changed to every 4 hearts that you'll restart with extra. (5-8: start with 2, 9-12: start 3) This will change again.

You know when you're in the middle of a dungeon or large field, such as those found in Gate 2, and you begin a map with 1 heart? Then you get an unmentionable amount of deaths just trying to get out of there to refill your life. I'm sure it happened to a few, I got a few e-mails and comments about such occurrences. That's not a good thing. I knew it 'could' happen, and the minimum life threshold spoken about above was there to assist with that. The problem is it doesn't help when it needs to. Sure, the game is designed around the player not getting hit, but...

3 hearts is now the minimum you will restart with after death. This won't change anything but maybe one or two health pots or Mario blocks being removed from early levels that were placed in just to assist with problems like this. As for the minimum as you move on;
3-8: 3 hearts
9-12: 4 hearts
13-16: 5 hearts
17-20: 6 hearts
This system doesn't change much (if at all) mid to end game, (Ch.10+) which works for what I want. It's simply there to help ease the early game hell that sometimes happens. It does assist with extra gate levels, which are designed (a bit) around the player saving up health.

Another DT2 LP
Raocow (or is it raocow even at the beginning of sentences?) has started LPing DT2. I uh... I think that's all that needs to be said. Quite a few are here probably because of that, so yeah. The talkhaus thread is here, which I will probably step in and comment on like the first from time to time.


The Big DT2 Update and Stuff

Is now live! I'll let you guys find out all the other stuff that was put in. As I mentioned in an edit during the last post, the score converter did not make it in, however, I'd prefer if people played it fresh again. That and I know you'll all find the scores easier to get, or just much more fair this time around.

GDC Online
It's that time of the year again. I'll be away from the internet from Oct.8 - Oct.11 to attend GDC in Austin. (More like 10 minutes away from where I live.) I usually sit in on the design and narrative talks as they cater more to what I find most intriguing about games. Last year I didn't go to any of them as I was helping out the IGDA guys on the Expo floor for most of the time. That and mingling with others around that area, mostly a few hidden Twisted Pixel guys and those at Vigil Games. The narrative group usually meet up at a place called The Ginger Man, after hours, till around 2am in the morning. That's about all to say there.

DT3 Scouts
I think I briefly touched on things like the Shrouds in DT3. That being they do not show up, but a new type of scouting enemy does make an appearance. This time, they're a small group comprised of different units. The group as a whole works almost completely procedural and constantly change up how they're engaging the player. The end goal is I'd like to have them learn and arc their behavior as the game goes on, but learning AI is way harder to do than I thought. At least effectively. That is something that may get cut in the end, but that's not important for the DT3 scouts at this time.

The unit I want to touch on today are the assist bots. Their role is... well to assist the group, and they will actively assess the situation and change what they're doing to suit the needs of the group. It's a completely non-combat unit with the main functions being healing and shielding. Healing is pretty straight forward. Shielding makes the target being shielded completely immune to damage. There are limitations on these. Only one can be used at any given time. To shield a target, it will have to float (the assist bots fly) stationary and focus to keep the shield over the target for as long as they feel the need to. If it wants to heal an ally, it will have to stop the shield. For both healing and shielding, the assist bot will need a direct unobstructed line of sight. Think back to the Aero Bot laser in DT1. Healing has a charge up time before it can be used, and a cooldown time before it can be started again. Units with an assist bot in the group can call out to be healed, which will actually be indicated on-screen. This doesn't mean the assist bot will suddenly prioritize healing that unit, but it does go pretty far up the list of things to do.

Since the assist bots work on figuring out the best way to the group as a whole, especially if I including ways of learning, I knew they would devise ways of completely screwing over the player in certain conditions. Namely, in an attrition based scenario where there are two assist bots, I didn't want them figuring out  that all they had to do was point a shield at one another and watch as the player runs about helpless to do anything to them. A few other limitations on their functions were set up. That being they cannot heal or shield another assist bot. The assist bots can priorities fleeing if they feel the need to get out of danger, but they will never ever be able to target themselves or other assist bots. Assist bots do have an auto healing property, but it is slow working and can be disabled by the player.

Some time later, I'll go a bit into some of the other units in the DT3 scouting group. The testers have not been able to see them yet since I usually don't give them unfinished stuff. The scouts are currently in a fairly roughdraft state.


Mostly Grackles

Edit: (September 13,2012) The DT2 update is finished! The DT3 testers have access for now while I do a few extra tests. The score converter seems to want to be finicky, plus I suck, so that doesn't look like it'll make it in. Though I recommend to play the game fresh anyway.

Finally remembered to bring my camera during the last few days to get some pictures of the birds, though nothing out of the ordinary happened. Still, some of them might be entertaining.

This bird doesn't know me, or at least I don't recognize her, but she still let me come fairly close.

The only bird out of these that I know is the one walking close to me.

The one on the left with the gray fuzz has been flying down to ask for food for the last few days. The middle one with the soft features looking up at me has known me for roughly a week. Or at least that's as far as I can remember her reoccuring. The bigger one I've never seen, but he came close quite a few times that day and was fairly aggressive to the other birds.

I should have gotten a video of this. They were all being cautious around the donut and taking turns with it. I did manage to get one mid-flight, but my camera is really bad. The one that looks like it's yelling is the same bird on the left of the previous image.

When I first saw this bird, I thought he was the short tailed one I have known since I started out there a few months ago, but it turns out he's not the one. His beak is shaped a bit differently and he looks too timid. That and his tail feathers don't appear to have been taken off. The one I know has it a bit rough around the tail feathers. Took a picture anyway.

Same bird from the previous picture, just an hour later. His left leg hurts him when he walks on it, which is why he's standing on his right constantly. It'll heal.

Caught this younger bird perching on a car. The look she's giving is one of, "Please leave me alone."

The male with the short tail feathers that I know is up there. Can you see him? He was calling out, but not to me. The flock was getting ready to leave for the night.

DT2 LP by DieHammerbrueder
The first one! Being played by Steve, who has not played it before. Commentary is being done by both him and Slit08. The LP is before the big update, and even before the previous one where I had toned down a few things and fixed a few bugs. They know of the update, but they're going to continue with this LP anyway. It'll be very easy to see the differences between the two versions.

Speaking of the update. The release date is the 17th. I should have it done tomorrow or the next day, but I'm going to let it sit in the dropbox for the testers to poke at if they want. You know, cause I often miss things.

Other Things
There were other things I was going to post about, but I didn't make notes of them, so they'll be in the next post. I guess... ponies? o_O
Oh right; Red Vines > Twizzlers



One of the birds flagged me down twice, but I didn't have any more food for them that day. That's rare that happens because I usually won't give out the rest of what I have that day till I see the flock begin to fly off to roost for the night. I don't know why, but I sometimes feel bad when that happens. Especially for this one because she comes right up to my feet. This particular bird is another easy one to recognize due to how her face and eyes look, and she comes much closer and for longer periods of time than the others now.

The males almost never want anything to do with me, and some will even ignore the food I give out. My first assumption was they just weren't foraging for food, but that isn't the case. Only one male has ever approached me after being conditioned to know I hand out food. This one though, has known me longer than any of the other birds around. I've been 'talking' to this bird for roughly 3 months. It usually only takes about 2-4 days to condition the females to know that all they have to do is stop and approach me if they want food. Now when I say 'approach', there is generally a 7 foot distance they won't cross over. There are plenty of birds that are the exception, such as the male mentioned. There was a younger male that would come close, but he didn't stay around for very long, as most of the younger males tend to leave the area quickly to join with a larger group of males.

The females are willing to go extra lengths to get food when they need to feed their young, but even the younger females that don't have young will approach far more often than a younger male will. The female mentioned 2 paragraphs ago is fairly young, as last week she was still foraging with the mother. I haven't seen her do that for the last 2 days though, so it seems she's finally broken off on her own. That hasn't stopped her from hanging by the mother fairly often. I try not to feed the younger birds as I don't want to condition them to think humans are okay to approach. Luckily I have yet to see any of them approach someone other than me, which is a nifty feeling, even if all they want is the food I have.

Expendables 2
Since my roommates and I saw the first one, we decided to see the second one as well. (Actually we never saw the first in theaters.) We weren't expecting anything amazing from either, it was one of those movies we knew would be fun to watch with friends. Our assumptions were correct, as both movies were enjoyable. The first was mediocre/bad, but the second I really liked, as did Jerry. Instead of going for a semi-dramatic approach like the first, the second went in a goofy comedic route, which to me worked much better for what it was. The action was better, (more on that in a moment) the dialogue was much better and felt natural. I found it's a movie that probably won't be understood by the next generation as it draws on and makes references to many of the movies the lead actors have been in, to the point of characters stealing famous lines from each other. That generation probably wouldn't be able to appreciate it as much as those who grew with these movies. The jokes were well done, the timing was great, and it was just hilarious when it wanted to be.

In case some of you want to see it and haven't gotten the chance to, I won't go into details. There was something very fundamental (at least I feel) that Expendables 2 did right. A certain scene about 2/3 the way through made me realize just what that was. While I was definitely enjoying the film before this point, it was this scene that really sold it for me. There's a scene where Jason Statham's character is in a fight in a church throwing knives to fend off bad guys. As I'm watching this, I'm realizing that I'm able to see all of the action and choreography that went into it. There weren't any fancy camera movements or unnecessary close ups, it focused on the fight as a whole and the actions that made up each part of it. This, I feel, is something that most action movies hasn't done well for the past decade. Specifically the Bourne series, where every action sequence is a jumbled mess of close up shaky camera movements and sound effects. In Expendables 2, every action scene, including some gun fights, were extremely well choreographed.

This, mixed with the fun atmosphere the movie sets, has put Expendables 2 as my favorite action movie ever. It's a celebration of old over-the-top action films and doesn't try to do anything more or less. It delivers exactly what it promises. For someone who grew up with watching the action movies the lead actors are from, it was a fun time watching them all in one film together. While Chuck Norris didn't roundhouse kick a mountain down like I was wishing, his hilarious entrance makes up for that.

This Blog is actually about video games
DT2's content update is coming along nice. The new levels and boss encounter are fully playable. For now, I'm finishing up Gate D in DT3 for the testers. All that's left is a boss encounter, which should be done by Friday evening. (I hope.) After that, I'll return to finish the rest of the DT2 update. Aside from the new levels, there is a bit of other new playable content added, but I'll leave that a secret.

-Nearly every level has been tweaked. I think 1-1 is the only level that hasn't been changed at all.
-The final level got the biggest changes of all. To sum up what happened there, it got nerfed quite a bit. I feel it needed it. Same experience, just heavily modified. The checkpoints throughout the level are far more defined. There is a confirmation notice when using 'Restart Level' if you're on the final level due to the possibility of losing progress. The ship section with the 'Mario Score' also follows the new scoring rules with a slight change. The section when Claire loses her dashing has been softened up a bit and there are a few health pickups throughout the entire ship sequence. In Section 6, the advancing wall of doom does not speed up quite a fast, the end is still the same though.
-----Note that everything past world 2 has been bumped up by 1. The desert level is now world 3.-----
-Level 1-2B and 4-1A had a few Bullet Bill launchers removed. Speaking of 4-1, due to the way energy and Blast Off are handled now, that level is way better to play. 4-2 had its colored zones enlarged.
-All 1 tile wide platforms throughout the game have been extended by 1 tile.
-The scoring rules have been tweaked, the new rules are listed in game. The tutorial level will now no longer repeat the tutorial boxes after the first visit. Those tutorial boxes can now be viewed, along with a few additional things, in the map menu.
The sand bombs in 3-2A no longer push Claire down. Instead they will deal damage, but some adjustments to size and how frequent they fall has been made.

For those that finished DT2, you may remember the Chaser sequence at the end. It now backs off a bit if it hits you. (Thanks to Shade for that suggestion.) When it's hit, the push back is more fluid and also results in giving the player a bit more leeway, which after playing it with that change, feels much better. That's a very minor change compared to something else though. The end sequence with the Chaser(Core) has been extended. No details there as it would spoil things.

Overall, DT2 almost feels like a new game. As said above, there's more playable content added than just a new world.

Target Times and Scores
If anyone was ever curious to how the target scores were decided on;
R=Raw point value of all enemies in level
G=Worth of all gems collected consecutively without retrying
N=Number of enemies in level

R + G + (N*20) + ? = target score
The ? means that I made slight modifications based on subjective observations.

The target times were a bit harder to come up with. They had an impact on the score, so they couldn't be TOO low, but it couldn't be too high. I usually just played the level a million times and wrote down my times, then threw those notes away and came up with what I felt was fair. The idea was if the player was going for a high score, the time would always impact the score a tiny bit. This way speed was always a consideration when trying to go for the absolute best score possible.

Bringing over old scores
Ano0maly gave the idea of having a little program that will carry over your old scores. I really like this idea and I'll probably do that, though with the gameplay change, you'll find it a lot easier to get better scores anyway. If this is included, keep in mind that it will not carry over progress, only your times and scores. A text file with instructions on how to use it will be included, though really it'll be as easy as running it and pressing a button. Some of the target scores have been changed, so if you were right on the threshold before, you may no longer have the goal anymore, or... you may have it. They've been pushed up and down. The biggest target change is the shooter stage.